The Sunley Room at the National Gallery
12 March - 22 June 2008
The exhibition displays a number of vast canvases, each depicting folds of white fabric in close-up. However, far from being clinical or aseptic, they convey a sensation of softness, as does Proserpina in her Bernini incarnation. Human presence is suggested, not only through the inevitable parallel with a slowly-tousled intimacy, but also through the interplay of cloth and negative space. The black gaps mirror parts of the human anatomy - a languidly parted mouth, a narrowed eye, a private cleft. The lighting is suffused, and the walls a cool blue-grey, making the atmosphere as rarefied as the first lights of dawn, and creating the impression that the visitor has been allowed into most intimate chambers. Ultimately, it is an irresistible aura of sensuality that emanates from the collection - overpowering precisely because it consists, like the most refined and mature form of seduction, of intriguing, tantalising, allusion.