Critical Acclaim for New Art Exhibition at Pitzhanger Manor

Rana Begum's exploration of light, colour and form should not be missed

No. 1081 Mesh 2021


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A beautiful, new exhibition at Ealing's Pitzhanger Manor, brings much needed lightness and colour and uplifts the soul in these difficult times.

Rana Begum RA is a Bangladeshi-born artist living and working in London. Her work draws on a range of influences, from the geometric patterns of traditional Islamic art, to the visual language of Minimalism and Constructivism and urban landscapes.

''Dappled Light' is her first solo exhibition in a public gallery in London in six years and has been met with critical acclaim with the Evening Standard describing it  as ''fleeting moments of infinite beauty.''

Using a range of mixed media, Rana explores perceptions of light, colour and form using sculpture, paintings and installations.

Visitors get the first glimpse of the immersive colour experience outside the gallery as panes of red, blue, green and yellow glass, rise from the ground creating dancing shadows which are continually changing as the sun moves.

Inside it might be the striking ethereal cloud installation that takes centre stage - veils of soft pastel mesh which have been suspended beneath the marvellous glass dome ceiling (1081), but there are many other works in the gallery totally entrancing too, including the spray paint on Jesmonite feature along the back wall.

Rana Begum with her art work No 1082 Folded Grid 2021
''Dappled Light'' sets up what's been described as ''a dynamic dialogue with the architecture of Sir John Soane at Pitzhanger and the works respond to the Manor’s architecture, sightlines, and intricate interior decorative schemes, including his play of light through tinted glass''.

No.1127 Net,2022

Several works are displayed beyond the actual Gallery and placed inside the beautifully restored Manor house including a surprising bright neon installation (No 1127, Net) that fluidly zig-zags across the Georgian stairwell - old and modern working together in perfect synchronicity.

A new piece, which is the artist's first video work, captures dappled light through a tree canopy in a woodland cemetery outside Rana's city home. The time-lapse video cycles through the seasons during a year of lockdown. It's displayed in Pitzhanger’s atmospheric Monk’s Dining Room designed by Soane, and is a wonderfully soothing and not to be missed, meditative experience.

Sir John Soane, described as one of Britain's most visionary architects, bought Pitzhanger in 1800, he demolished most of the existing house and designed and built a new house as his country estate.

Speaking to at the launch, Rana Begum said she had initially been slightly nervous setting up an exhibition at the historic and listed Pitzhanger Manor, but is delighted with the result: '' It's been amazing, quite overwhelming working with the architecture here, thinking about how to bring light into the building and how that would affect the space and I was slightly intimidated by that, but at the same time it was really exciting to see. It's been a challenge but I'm really happy with it.''

Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, said they hope as many people as possible- - even those not so familiar with art galleries will visit. “ We are thrilled to be showing Rana Begum’s striking and accessible works and aim to inspire and engage a diverse audience. We have placed a magnificent coloured glass sculpture by Rana outside in the gardens: it picks up on architect Sir John Soane’s use of stained glass at Pitzhanger, and it has been lovely to see families passing through the park playing in its shadows: we want to use it to draw in a new audience to enjoy Rana’s very relatable art.”

Pitzhanger Manor reopened in spring 2019 following a 12m conservation and restoration project to return the Manor to its original design.

The art gallery offers top class exhibitions with free entry to Ealing residents all day Wednesdays and on Sunday mornings 10.30-12.30 as well as Under 18s Job seekers and people on income support and Carers accompanying visitors with disabilities.

Dappled Light is a wonderful, uplifting experience, I saw it for the first time in the morning with the beautiful interplay of sunlight in the gallery and this left me wanting to return for a second viewing, and return I did and will be sure to do so again.

We are very lucky to have this wonderful art and Manor house on our doorstep - do not miss!

Rana Begum: Dappled Light is curated by Dr Cliff Lauson, Director of Exhibitions at Somerset House. 25 March - 11 September 2022

This exhibition is in partnership with Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre.

Annemarie Flanagan

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March 29, 2022

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