Purdy Hicks Gallery, Oct 2012

Tom Hunter maintains his preference for not straying from his own East End community for this series of tableaux produced on commission by the RSC. Nine works that interpret 'A Midsummer Nights Dream', through the prism of Hackney and the paintings of 18th Century Swiss painter Henry Fuseli.

It is not just the locations in bars and back streets, which he closely identifies with but even the details in the heavily worked symbolism are drawn from there and can be claimed to be personally authentic.

While there are intriguing details from print to print here the staged theatricality - which may seem apt for an interpretation of a play - crucially lacks any sense of drama. They also lack the fine technical detail or evidence of high production values found in comparable large scale works/collectible investments.

His strategy of seeking inspiration and credence in painting has worked much better before. For instance his Millais influenced Ophelia - a previous Shakespeare-related one-off - or his seminal Woman Reading a Possession Order in the style of Vermeer were far more thought-provoking, and all without a single pearly king or queen in sight.



(until 3rd November 2012)