Magazine article The Spectator

'Rory McEwen: The Colours of Reality', by with an Introduction by Jools Holland - Review

Magazine article The Spectator

'Rory McEwen: The Colours of Reality', by with an Introduction by Jools Holland - Review

Article excerpt

Rory McEwen: The Colours of Reality with an introduction by Jools Holland

Kew Gardens, pp.240, £35, ISBN: 9781842465912

It seems odd that a singer, musician, television performer and sculptor who typified the 1960s as vividly as Rory McEwen should now be known principally for his botanical paintings. From the early 1950s until his tragically early death in 1982 he was everywhere and knew everyone, but as The Colours of Reality shows, McEwen was never more himself than when working within the discipline and timeless tradition of an art form that links him with the greatest flower painters of the past.

Not every botanical painter can count Jim Dine, Joseph Beuys and Ravi Shankar as his friends, play the 12-string guitar, shoot at Balmoral, influence Van Morrison, bolster the fortunes of the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society and drive a purple Ferrari with 'Ecosse' on the tail. The natural world, though, was his compulsion:

I paint flowers as a way of getting as close as possible to what I perceive as the truth, my truth of the time in which I live. …

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