Preview: Art in Large Doses

Posted on July 18, 2011


This article was originally written for MouthLondon magazine

Many will be familiar with the health benefits that a pleasant view is believed to bring hospital patients, but what about other kinds of visual stimulation? Since its foundation in 1959, the charity Paintings in Hospitals has been providing artworks for a range of healthcare sites. The presence of an engaging painting has been proven to reduce drug consumption, improve recovery times and lower anxiety levels.

The charity manages a two-floor gallery space just around the corner from Tate Modern, and from 27 July will be holding an exhibition of works from the Paintings in Hospitals collection, amusingly entitled: Art in Large Doses.

Just what can we expect from this exhibition – naturalistic renderings of pastoral landscapes, which replicate the health-giving benefits of a country view, or something a little different? Well, the charity claims to challenge ideas about what artworks would be suitable for healthcare sites and promises a display of “bold and contemporary works”.

The mother of a patient in the Pediatric unit of St Georges, Tooting, described the comfort she found in a “bright, vibrant” painting of a setting sun: “a focal point … during some very dark and difficult days”. It will be interesting to see whether the benefit of natural scenes develops into a thematic trend in the collection.

With works from Ian DavenportSylvia Edwards and Patrick Hughes on the cards there may well be natural themes, but more importantly there will be colour. If this grey summer is failing to lift your spirits there will surely be some cheer on show at the Menier Gallery.

The exhibition will run from 27 July – 12 August.

Admission free.