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06 Mar 2013

Exhibition inspired by letters from death row - Simone Sandelson: Behind the Picture

© Simone Sandelson

Simone Sandelson: Behind the Picture
Crane Kalman Gallery


Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm Saturday: 10am - 4pm

Pauline Stobbs
+44 (0)20 7734 4800

Crane Kalman Gallery
178 Brompton Road
London SW3 1HQ
United Kingdom

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Behind the Picture
Paintings and Narrative by Simone Sandelson
Crane Kalman gallery, 15 March – 6 April 2013

'Behind the Picture' is a collection of paintings inspired by objects that tell a story. Some are deeply personal, others more political. For each painting, Sandelson has written a short narrative that reveals the inspiration behind the picture.

'Prostration' captures the poignancy of rows upon rows of bowed heads, gathered for mass prayers in Tahrir square, a year after violent protests for democracy in Egypt. A somewhat ghostly Custard Tin and Grape-Nuts references the provisions abandoned over 50 years ago at the Antarctica British Survey Base camp, when the team was given less than an hour to escape as an iceberg approached. The custard and cereal were recently re-discovered, frozen in time.

Of the more intimate works, The Letters shows just a few of the bundles of correspondence between Sandelson and Death Row prisoner Jack Alderman, for whose life she campaigned over four long years (2004-8). The experience of writing to Alderman was one of the many influences on her painting, as she says 'My work has been formed by many diverse elements – a feeling of powerlessness amidst trauma in my own life, the philosophy and practice of Buddhism and teaching art in prison and hospices and much more.'

Sandelson has always wanted to use her work to activate and motivate, which brought her to teach painting part time for almost three years to prisoners at Wormwood Scrubs. A crowd of male inmates would regularly gather around a table in the prison to turn their hand to artwork, under her calming guidance. Now she is working with patients at Trinity Hospice in Clapham, finding that they feel freer to talk about their anxieties and problems when their hands are busy making artwork.

Sandelson herself studied under the portrait painter David Cranswick, spending three years in his studio learning the painstaking disciplines of grinding pigments with oil, transforming egg white into glazes, stretching and sizing canvases with rabbit skin glue. These traditional techniques, the province of Old Master painting, give the images a timelessness, a stillness and luminosity that transforms the often mundane compositions into meditative vignettes and make us even more curious to find out the story behind the picture.

Profits from the sale all giclée prints will be donated to the Tibetan refugee charity the Rigul Trust and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

For further information and images please contact Pauline Stobbs at Theresa Simon & Partners +44 (0) 207 734 4800

Listings information
Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, London, SW3 1HQ
Tel: 020 7584 7566

Exhibition runs: 15 March – 6 April 2013
Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10 am – 4pm

Notes to Editors

Simone Sandelson studied Art History at Manchester University and Fashion and Textiles at Manchester Art College. She teaches art and portrait painting at Trinity hospice. Her portraits include HRH Prince Charles and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Crane Kalman Gallery was established in 1949 by Andras Kalman in Manchester and moved to Brompton Road in 1956. The gallery specialized in Modern Modern British paintings and sculpture, in particular the works of L.S.Lowry, Alan Lowndes, Ben and Winfred Nicholson, Mary Newcomb. We also deal in 20th Century European and American paintings and sculpture.