ART: PRIVATE VIEW

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The Independent Culture
Alfred Janes Today to 6 Feb

Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea

The history of British art is littered with minor figures: quiet talents that never quite won the reputation that they deserved. Teaching is often the reason: they spend a large part of their life fostering the careers of others at the expense of their own. Alfred Janes, who died earlier this year aged 87, was such a man. He was always a part-time teacher, but there is another reason for his relative obscurity: his work is extremely diverse and hard to place.

He started out as a meticulous draughtsman and fastidious painter, then moved towards abstraction on the wind of modernism that blew, albeit rather gently, through British art between the wars. The diversity wouldn't matter if the work itself was good enough, but that would be too much to ask of someone who experimented as much as Janes. His best work, however, is well worth a look, especially his early still lives and portraits, such as a 1934 portrait of his friend Dylan Thomas. This exhibition looks set to give his reputation a deserved boost.

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Alexandra Road, Swansea, (01792 655006) to 6 Feb 2000

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