Richard Goodall, who opened his beautiful new gallery on High Street recently, has already proved in Thomas Street for the last seven years, that he does what he does exceedingly well. He has an unerring eye for talent, and the persistence to bring it to a wall-near-you.
The wonder of the first exhibition on High Street is that it happened at all. But this is how it did.
Many years ago Goodall bought a book of poetry from the tortured song-writer, enigma and oft-times genius Leonard Cohen. This also featured a couple of his line drawings, Goodall was instantly smitten. He then met with Graham Nash of Nash Editions in California. Nash had been, of course, a leading member of Manchester band the Hollies, before becoming one of the founders of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Goodall and Nash decided to collaborate in delivering this exhibition, two and a half years later we can all see the success the venture.
Many of the works combine image and text. These include descriptions of the subject, thoughts and letters which are humorous, touching and immediate: it's Leonard, poet and painter, captured in a frame. They are a delight.
The gallery itself is worth a visit. A huge, elegant, glass walled space with polished concrete floor that will bring out the hidden rollerblader in you. This provides a light and airy space in which to enjoy art.
I have seen the show at least six times and have narrowed my choice of possible purchases down to an improbable fifteen. My first would be a coloured drawing with the caption One of the days when the hat doesn't help: a self portrait, just one of many that Cohen did every day for a year. Then, there’s Red Violin, at least three life drawings, and The End of the Day, which has already sold the first twenty five editions. If however like me, you are not able to make the big investment, there is a full colour catalogue some of which are signed and which will keep you happy for years. There is a comprehensive but well written forward by Robert Enright.
So far, so excellent, although memories of the launch still cause pain. What happened to exhibition etiquette? Call me sensitive to a fault if you like, but I was almost in an under-the-sofa-situation with embarrassment at the frenzy of adoration going on. I know everybody there was an ardent fan of Leonard Cohen and the man himself seemed to be coping with it well, but ...come-on-girls! There were moments when I feared he was in danger of being digested before our very eyes. Let's show our idols we love them by all means, but let's not eat them alive. It’s the work that they’ve done that will be remembered after all.
Richard Goodall Gallery (103 High Street. Northern Quarter, City. 0161 834 3330 www.richardgoodallgallery.com)
Tue-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat noon-4pm
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