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Alan Shipway's paintings are on display in the white cube space of this small gallery. Born in 1958, a graduate of the Edinburgh University Architecture Department and St Martins, London, his works are an interesting amalgamation of various artists' influences. He is described by the gallery curator as having a deep knowledge and understanding of the history of art and reverence for thirteenth century Italian painting, seen in examples of his work such as the oil on canvas, Homage to Fra Angelico. Rothko-like is its divisions of light and dark blue-greys, the soft hues would be well placed alongside the gentle blue-greys Angelico used.

Perhaps the most original aspect of Shipway's work is the rather obstructive but somehow endearing placement of a barcode color palette on most of the canvases. Existing in their own designated place on the surface, in a corner, or in the very centre, they retain the dark cream of cardboard colour, painted around with whichever colors are in use for the rest of the canvas surface and isolated by this designation. The barcode palette, crudely done in black paint over pencil, consists of the written color word on the left, alongside which is dabbed a brushstroke of the color. At first jarring on the eye, it becomes a representation of the artist at work, researching and pushing himself in the search for just the right colour and expression from the limitations of the palette he has set himself. It is not clear whether Shipway limited himself to the colours on his barcode palette only, for most pieces are light with the use of creams and off-whites which are not featured options on his palette.

The hanging of five canvases close beside one another caused the individual relevance of the works to be lost in a 'noise' of contrasting tones of darks and lights, colours of reds and greens and subject matter ranging from Spring Green Tree, Leaves on Dark Water, Book (Duccio) to the before-mentioned Homage to Fra Angelico. On the other hand, more complimentarily is the placement of a creamy white large canvas, its surface divided with a wide red-squared backward P, on a wall of its own. Entitled Apostle and adorned with the barcode palette, the work gave the impression of a study for something still to come but content upon the wall to bide its time, held up by the wide brushstroked red. His technique seems hurried and unfinished and the canvases maintain the look of the unfinished, undernourished of time and completion. Shipways works are reminiscent of the works of Modigliani (in the work Path where again red paint attaches itself to the creamy white below in an emulation almost of one of Modigliani, or Brancusi's, noses), Morris Lewis, Rothko and Anthony Caro.

With both smaller and larger pieces on display, the works on paper seem to be preparatory studies for the larger canvases and the repetition of the similar, or the same, images lead to a limited display of his oeuvre. I found the catalogue gave a better depiction of his works for the smaller colour reproductions gave the canvases a colour clarity and strength and the required, at times, gentleness which the canvases seemed to lack in the draining white cube space.

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