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If you have always been looking for an artist, well-known on the contemporary art scene, who specializes in painting buildings you could well have done worse than to have visited Oliver Bevan's exhibition 'Inner City Paintings' at the Odette Gilbert Gallery.

Oliver Bevan's work will attract you if you like strident colours and cubist-inspired architectural paintings.

'Inner City Paintings' were a series of oils and monoprints of the Farringdon area of the City of London which Oliver Bevan continued with a further series on the Smithfield area. Oliver Bevan sprang to public notice almost at once on leaving the Royal College of Art in the mid-sixties with a collection of geometrically based abstract paintings shown at the Grabowski Gallery. Since he has had many one-man shows at galleries in England, Canada and Switzerland as an artist of tenacious individuality outside the critical mainstream. With the Modern Movement and cubist-influenced buildings out of fashion it is doubly interesting to see not only new but old buildings represented as cubist shapes and colours as in the centrepiece painting 'The Castle, Cowcross Street'.

As decoration for the architect or designer's conference room there is little better. In 'Farringdon Upheaval' the buildings seem to move as in earthquake. In 'Cowcross Street, The Barbican', recently shown at the Contemporary Arts Society, the towers of the Barbican loom at the end of a cubist perspective, in 'St. John's Gardens' and in 'Farringdon No.2' the railway lines and tunnels dominate, surmounted by a landscape including St.Paul's.

Yet the canvasses are in no way in the style of historical records. They are modern interpretative paintings and their intellectual basis not to be underestimated. The view from the roof of Oliver Bevan's studio was a cross-section through architectural time. Most particularly, the architecture of commerce old and new, of the northern part of the City of London - from a splendid disused railway building known by the artist as 'the hulk' to the uncompromising Cardinal House. These fragments of time are here to be re-interpreted through a particular vision - and it is in his synthesis of the elements of a place or of an area that Oliver Bevan excels. In so doing, a strength and regeneration is given to our visual perception of the area.

Colour is the emotional key to the work. In 'Five Domes' the brighter hue of the domes brings across the emotional charge of the domes of the City as viewed from an eyrie. In 'Cowcross Street, Rain', the richness of colour and the light from a window gives a curious intimacy and foreshortening of perspective.

There is a surefooted use and juxtaposition of colour throughout the work. Indeed, perspective is often defined by colour. The positive bright colours, usually in the foreground, mark the overlay of life and its self-assertion. The darker ground of greys and blacks and greens, something of a darker side too, reflect the reality of the area and are the background to the life. In 'Smithfield, Grand Avenue', the relationship is changed and the bright colours, now in the background, carry an extra turn of emotion to this classically balanced painting.

There is a striking immediacy to the work too. Despite the influences, despite the subject matter of buildings of all ages, it is the present that triumphs in these paintings. The challenge of subject or technique is more interesting to the artist than the backward glance. The style, however influenced, escapes from time awhile and becomes part of the present. If you like buildings, the paintings will grow and grow on you.