Contemporary Art

An extensive collection of contemporary art, with 400 paintings and sculptures is displayed throughout the hotel, featuring works from some of the fastest rising stars of today's art scene including Joost Beerents, Emily Young, Justine Smith and Mimei Thompson, amongst established artists such as Cecilia Vargas and Richard Walker.

When in the hotel, look out for The Oarsman in the Lobby Bar and the 'Beano' dog affectionately called Spencer who greets you at Reception. Read more about some of the artists with work on display at the hotel. 
   
JUSTINE SMITH
Beano the dog sculpture at Reception
Justine’s innovative and cheeky papier maché dog sculptures have caught the attention of the art world.  “I just got knocked off my bicycle and had to start walking to work across Clapham Common, and so got into watching the dogs.   I had a go at making a sculpture of one and it came out really nicely” she explains.  The dogs are made using chicken wire then covered in paper dipped in plaster, with the final layer in Beano comics.   

“My mother read that the designer Paul Smith was really into The Beano, so I wrote to him and sent him some photos,” says Justine.  As a result, she was asked to do a window for the Paul Smith shop, which resulted in a lot of publicity in the national press.  She has also done work for the Battersea Dogs Home, Agnes b., The British Council and 100% Design. Apart from private commissions, Justine also contributes to museum and gallery shows.



  
ANDRÉ WALLACE
Boatman with Oars - sculpture in The Lobby Bar
André was born in 1947 and trained at Liverpool Royal Academy and Royal College of Art in London.  For many years he collaborated with architects, developers and councils to produce both larger public works and smaller sculptures for interiors.  


   
EMILY YOUNG  A.R.B.S
The Head of Dionysus - sculpture in The Lobby Bar
Emily Young was born in London in 1951 but spent most of her youth in Italy,  York and California.  She comes from a family of writers and artists and her grandmother was the sculptor Kathleen Scott who was taught by Rodin.  Emily trained at Chelsea School of Art and St. Martin’s in London. Emily Young lives and works in London and is an Associated Member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.

Emily’s work is characterised by the highly individual way in which it combines strength with gentleness.  Her sculptures are massive, but their contours are rounded.  This gives her work an impression of great naturalness, an impression she occasionally reinforces by leaving portions of the stone roughly worked.  Some of these pieces seem to be broken, or partially finished, or weathered, as if dug from the debris of an ancient city.

Like many good artists, Emily Young is not afraid to return to the same themes.  She searches continually for the perfect way to express ideas and shapes that preoccupy her:  there are, for example, the Purbeck heads, such as Dionysus in the Lobby of One Aldwych.  There are also the portraits of couples and the marvellously pure female torsos in marble.  Above all, however, she returns to the moods and emotions that make her sculptures speak to us personally and cause us to identify with them.


  
MIMEI THOMPSON
5 Paintings - Oil on Canvas
Mimei Thompson was trained at Glasgow School of Art.  Since graduating in 1994, her paintings have attracted much attention for their sometimes brilliant use of colour and mature understanding of painting in the abstract.

Mimei Thompson’s pictures are beautifully executed, with sumptuous sheen on smoothed surfaces, coupled with rich billowing textures.  They are, according to the inclination of the viewer, essays in pure, but also very subtle, colour, or else intensely felt, brooding landscapes. With a sense of menace in the stirring clouds and low-lying hills and pools.  On this reading, her sombre skies often break open into strange and distant vistas.  As visual objects her paintings are immediately decorative and vivid, but equally each picture, quietly observed, gives an impressive sense of permanence.”
Professor George Henderson, Cambridge History of Art Department

Since graduating Thompson’s work has regularly appeared in mixed exhibitions in galleries in London and Europe.


JOOST BEERENTS
Joost Beerents, a young Dutch artist, is one of the fastest rising stars of today’s art scene.  There are various works by Joost at One Aldwych.

Joost took painting lessons at the renowned Van Gogh Museum and the Rietveld Gallery in Amsterdam.  She also spent time in Florence and held her first exhibition back in Amsterdam in 1990.  Many successful exhibitions followed throughout Holland, and her work is being fast acquired for collections both public and private.

“For me, a good painting has to have mystical power,” she says.  “I hope the viewer will feel the same as I felt when I was painting it.”  

There is a story behind each painting, in which she relates to important events.  “As a child, I was always involved with history.  Record events down to the smallest details. Graveyards, people’s life stories…an enormous curiosity about what is behind them.  My father once said, ‘You look for the truth behind life.’  That may very well be the basis of my work.”

In Joost’s paintings movement, shapes and the play with lines are balanced evenly.  Through their division of the surface, they evoke the landscape.  Her early work emphasised the linear aspect, and current art emphasises shape.  She builds up the structure of her paintings with the help of different layers of paper, pigments, sand or plaster mixtures all on top of each other, thus giving more depth to her work.

Every year Joost spends a few weeks in Terschelling, one of the Dutch islands, where she photographs nature.  “Not to obtain a specific result, but because of a way of looking.  The feeling of water, the wind, the way the trees smell, the discovery of new forms…I stop thinking then, I can paint from my deepest emotions then.  After all, humans are part of nature too.  When you are close to nature, you come closer to your feelings too.”   Joost also draws inspiration from her home town of Amsterdam, “In this city I encounter all different aspects of myself.  To me, Amsterdam is complete freedom.  Its colourful streets with all those cosy little cafés and crazy little shops.  A lot goes on in this city.” 

Book Your Room

Check Room Availability