Of all the galleries in all the towns in all the world, you come into mine….

Here's looking at you, kid
Here’s looking at you, kid

Round up the usual suspects? I don’t think so, there’s nothing usual about the latest collection at Leeds Art Gallery where the shortlisted entries for the Northern Art Prize are on show.

Yet one of the incumbents, who I’ll call Ilsa, seems a bit peeved at these comers-in. She’s been there some time,  tipping her urn and other sticky-outie things towards gallery visitors. Not that this example of postmodernism from the Frank Dobson who wasn’t the avuncular Secretary of State for Health, Employment and Energy of the 1990s has anything to prove. Under her real name of The Fount she stands out as an example of work from Frank Dobson, acknowledged (by Wikipedia at least) as one of the most important British sculptors of the 20th century.

Up until mid June she’s joined by works from four artists who stand to win the princely sum of £16,500 if they get the prize. Now I don’t know what it was about the huge, brightly-coloured stripey,  portals that attracted my attention, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off them. The artists, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan  had built these fantastic structures around the entrances to two of the gallery rooms, framing frames as it were. It was particularly impressive to see the 1885 painting of The Sognefjord through the installation they have called The Reiterative Grimace, both Noel and I love this painting, well, it’s big mountains in fabulous light, what’s not to like? I wasn’t too embarrassed to plonk myself down to take photos, polishing the floor with my jeans as I did, when in an arty setting, be arty, that’s what  I always say.

But Ilsa remains nonplussed, well, she is the most beautiful woman ever to visit if not Leeds, then certainly Casablanca. And it might even be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Pop along to the gallery if you get chance, so you can say, ‘here’s looking at you’.

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