Rolling Stones guitarist impresses with his paintings
This is definitely the month for new exhibitions with a whole crop of them opening in the next week or so. Some, unfortunately, are very shortlived like the Arts Society of Ulster in Merville House, Shore Road, Newtownabbey which is only open until tomorrow.
Another show which only lasts until 5pm tomorrow but which is, rather surprisingly, very worth making an effort to see, is the collection of original artworks by Ronnie Wood in the Tom Caldwell Gallery, Lisburn Road.
To be honest I approached this one with a certain amount of caution, imagining it would be yet another celebrity trying to cash in on his name, and become an 'artist', but I was so totally wrong.
Ronnie Wood, best known as a member of The Rolling Stones, was actually, first and foremost, an artist. The band took off while he was still at college but, unlike some of the others, he actually finished his degree and his work is surprisingly good.
As you would expect it centres around the music business with renderings of people like Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and of course other members of the Stones.
The works are almost all prints, some silkscreen, some etching, with one or two originals thrown in. As well as showbiz personalities there are several pieces focusing on the other love of his life, horses. He has a real passion for them and actually owns a stud in Co Kildare, so has the opportunity for some very strong, action shots.
Another surprise is the competence of the only landscape in the show, which is really very nicely painted.
Woods is particularly good at capturing the vigour and movement of his subjects with a lively and very immediate style.
I especially like the big Mono Series V - Ronnie piece, which is a combination of print and paint on canvas and is full of colour and full on action. Miles Davis, on the other hand is an intense, yet much gentler piece of work, while Keith III is quite dark and brooding.
He also has a very competent series of animal portraits - a tiger, a panther and a mandrill (which can be purchased as a set) - which are sensitive, lifelike renderings.
Unfortunately the exhibition finishes tomorrow. It has already been in Dublin so this really is your last chance to see it in Ireland for the moment.