Ben Uri Gallery: No Set Rules

From Art Therapy Without Borders

They use art in therapy don't they? If you're having problems with your body or the stuff in your head you can put it all on a piece of paper. My doctors' surgery is full of it and some of it is pretty good too.

A while back on a Sunday we headed off to the Ben Uri gallery in St John's Wood to see an exhibition called No Set Rules but both of us were not in the best of moods. So after a bit of walking and talking we got on our bikes and cycled to the gallery, stopped off at a pub and played with our new toy (which is a tablet), and had a bitter shandy and a packet of crisps.

After this we went to the gallery, which is small and intimate and looked at some great work. Took some pictures with our new device and discussed art with the chap who let us in...probably for too long. Got back on the bikes and cycled to St John's Wood High Street and had coffee and cakes at Carluccio's whilst sitting in the late afternoon sun and then cycled home very content and happy and in a much better frame of mind.

My point is that art is therapeutic but in more ways than one. It is a transporter of ideas; someone else's ideas, so when you're caught up in your own thoughts just looking at art is a great release because it takes you out of yourself...especially if you combine it with other simple pleasures.

Here is one of the photos we took with the new gadget...I know it's not great quality. I had trouble holding the thing steady and pressing the button without moving, also we had to deal with the refection in the glass but I'm not sure how much this really matters as I quite like the rough and ready element to images sometimes...and anyway perfectionism is one of the reasons people can end up needing therapy.

Elisabeth Tomlin (1912 - 2012)
Head circa 1920
Pastel and acrylic on paper

The show concentrates on works on paper which include drawings, prints and paintings all by artists working in Britain between 1920 to 2004 including: Jane Joseph, David Bomberg, Gillian Ayres, Frank Auerbach, Michael Rothenstein, Leon Kossoff, Glenn Sujo, Elisabeth Tomlin and Edward Toledano. There are works by 37 different artists in all.

Anyway this show is on until 9 August, which is good because I've been meaning to finish this piece of writing for ages and it's most annoying if it goes out of date while I'm procrastinating.

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