Linda Kitson’s vibrant new show, iPad Pictures of the Scalpel & The City at the Framer’s Gallery (16 October – 4 November 2017) is in marked contrast to her formative reportage and landscape work and role as the UK’s only ever female war artist, capturing the danger and destruction of the Falklands conflict in 1982.
For an artist synonymous with using traditional mediums such as pen, pastel and watercolour on paper, Kitson’s adoption of the iPad is in itself noteworthy. As her close friend and former tutor, Sir Quentin Blake, comments: “It is surprising when an artist who has so relished the possible range of marks on paper (even through to, as she puts it, “gouging”) is able to transfer to such a different medium as the iPad. Linda however seems to have taken to it as though it were waiting for her, releasing new initiatives of colour and composition, and a fearless enthusiasm for urban architecture, both ancient and of this very moment.”
Linda Kitson’s body of new work created on her iPad captures street scenes and the landmarks of London’s financial district, The City. Using bright, kaleidoscopic colours the bold and instantly recognisable architecture of the ‘Scalpel,’ Gherkin’ and ‘Cheesegrater’ take on vivid new appearances whilst remaining everyday. It is this juxtaposition that is a key feature of the exhibition.
iPad Pictures of the Scalpel and The City showcases fifty-five new works by the artist. From pavement-level pictures of City workers sitting on the steps at Broadgate and a casually-dressed man riding a ‘Boris Bike’ to statues, ancient churches overshadowed by modern office blocks to cranes atop 22 and 100 Bishopsgate, the show reflects the vibrancy and ever-changing nature of this historical and commercially important part of the nation’s capital.
Linda studied at St. Martin’s School of Art and The Royal College of Art. Her first exhibition was drawings of the wine chateaux of Bordeaux. In 1982, she was commissioned as an Official War Artist to capture military life in the Falkland Islands.
Her remarkable work, described by the critic William Feaver as ‘like letters home’ inspired the Producer David Puttnam to invite Linda to draw the making of his multi- award-winning film The Killing Fields. Subsequently Kitson enjoyed success travelling widely as a landscape artist for both commissions & exhibitions.
In 2015 her work took a dramatic new turn, when she took up the iPad. With it she now explores ways of depicting the drama of city architecture. “Drawing in the middle of cities,” she says, “is a totally new world. The iPad changes everything. You can be anywhere; bus stops, traffic jams, building sites. The whole collection of ‘tools’ is in your hands.”
She adds “With the continuous demolition, construction and expansion of London, there has never been a better - or more exciting time - to capture my home town. I just cannot resist it. It’s as if I’ve only just begun the business of looking at life again, and found so many news ways of describing it.”