One of the delights of art is suddenly coming across somebody new. This year we were on holiday in the Dordogne and visiting the lovely medieval town of Sarlat with history coming out of every pore. There was an art exhibition advertised in the Hotel de Maleville by Adrian Kenyon.
I must admit that I'm not a great one for art exhibitions when on holiday. They are often massively disappointing and some of the paintings are grotesque. Then there are the amateur exhibitions where would-be artists give their interpretations of bowls of fruit, fixed wing aircraft and just about anything else that takes their fancy - usually in quite a hideous way.
So I wasn't expecting a lot from Adrian Kenyon's exhibition, perhaps a few watercolours of the Dordogne. To get to the exhibition took a climb up a considerable number of steps. But boy oh boy was it worth the climb.
Just occasionally you come across an artist whose work takes your breath away. Salvador Dali has that affect on me, as do many of the Italian Renaissance painters. To have a similar feeling in the middle of rural France was quite special.
It's difficult to describe Adrian's work. Let's just say that I bought a print entitled Apocalypse and you might get the idea of some of the subject matter. Talking to Adrian established that he came from Halifax in Yorkshire, but had lived in Sarlat for many years, having worked out there and then taken to being a full time artist and actually living in the hotel.
Such was the intensity of his Apocalypse painting, that he gave me a two page description of the meaning. Think oil, think corporate greed, think MacDonalds, George Bush, Tony Blair the four horsemen of the apocalypse, starvation in Africa, the Book of Revelation, monsters, Gorgons and you get some idea of the scale of the work.
Many of the other works had similar themes and it was a thought-provoking half hour or so. To me art should create wonder, but above all should be challenging. The work of Adrian Kenyon, British artist from Halifax now living in France, certainly does that. If you want to read and see more he has his own web site which can be accessed by Googling his name.