Recently he painted and drew a heroically
decrepit cherry tree in an urban garden, but, generally speaking, nature is
present almost by default. He is 86 years old now, and the most recent works in
this show, a suite of drawings dated 2012, see him returning to Arnold Circus
in Shoreditch, the locale of his childhood, much changed since his boyhood days
as the son of a Jewish baker.
Kossoff is utterly besotted by London, and its
physical metamorphoses. If the Blitz and its aftermath had not happened,
Kossoff might just have been temped to invent it. It’s a smutty place,
Kossoff’s London, congested, seething, murky, messy, relentlessly itself, and
usually rendered in a mixture of charcoal and pastel.
Just imagine the sight of
his finger ends. He used to draw and paint it in a mood akin to frenzy, with
ferocious slashings and wrigglings of marks. The colours were