A commercial success as a painter that once you have developed a profitable line in one genre

Underground Encounters

At the Mercury Gallery, London until 26th June 
It is an unspoken rule of commercial success as a painter that once you have developed a profitable line in one genre, you stick to it. Collectors expect an artist to diligently mine the same seam, and attempts to strike out in a new direction are usually met at best with indignation and the feeling that the artist has let the public down.

Why this should be I'm not entirely sure. Gallery owners obviously prefer safe bets, and perhaps the art-buying public is insecure and needs the comfort of continuity. A few artists break the mould and get away with it. Picasso and Hackney are two prime examples. Eric Rimmington is another artist who is now gamely running contrary to form, and it remains to be seen if he can pull it off. His new show takes the daring step of swapping the pristine still lifes which have made his name for paintings of the world of the London Underground.

Railways hold a peculiar charm for Rimmington. From drawings made in the 1980s of the railway land of London's Kings Cross Station, it was a logical step to go beneath the ground and look at what was happening below. The sketches have provided the material for Underground Encounters, an exhibition of 40 paintings and drawings which convey the curious magic of this sunken world designed for a population in transit.

23 What point is exemplified in the text by the reference to Picasso and Hackney?
A Art buyers tend to prefer certain individual artists or genres.
B Artists are rarely appreciated for their commercial insight.
C Artistic styles can be successfully changed or modified.
D Certain artistic genres are more profitable than others.

24 In the writer's opinion, Rimmington's current choice of subject matter
A represents a natural artistic progression.
B is a reflection of his unconventional personality.
C is likely to bring him even greater success as an artist.
D represents an attempt to reach a wider artistic audience.

A commercial success as a painter that once you have developed a profitable line in one genre


Text: Cambridge University Press

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