Brice’s triple portrait of Toorop, painted in hazy monotones, literally raises her up, enlarging upon her gifts, her self-knowledge and struggle. It is a highly intelligent hymn of praise, a spellbinding commemoration.
It is also the ideal herald for what follows, which is nothing less than a show of enormous and lifelong devotion to painting by 31 contemporary artists, many born elsewhere but who all now live in Britain. The oldest is in her 80s, the youngest under 30.
Since each artist is represented by several works, beautifully displayed with plenty of radiant thinking space in architectural enclaves, there is the feeling of seeing many small shows. Yet there is a constant and unifying energy to the whole experience – rich, absorbing, eventful, and as connected to the life of our times as anything in contemporary fiction. (...)
Although there is mercifully no curatorial agenda in Mixing It Up: Painting Today – other than the belief of the Hayward Gallery’s director, Ralph Rugoff, that the UK currently has one of the world’s great painting scenes – there are definitive groupings in the presentation. An upstairs room is concerned with illusion, specifically the paradox of depicting the 3D world in two dimensions (...)
One space is devoted entirely to abstract painting (...). And a downstairs room gathers together all the coarsest and most eye-jabbing works in the show, mainly overwrought or hyperreal paintings involving creatures. (It is on the right as you enter.) But the proportion of duds in Mixing It Up is unusually low.