Generous gift day

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It was a real pleasure to get into the studio today…not only did I resolve two of the large Conversation pieces to my satisfaction but I was able to take receipt of this generous gift of a painting by Arthur Goodwin.  It came to me very fortuitously from Jill Langford to whom I am so grateful.  Arthur was Vice-Principal at Exeter College of Art up to and including the period I spent there on Foundation studies.  His son Paul and myself studied together in the art room at Hele’s School Exeter overseen by the wonderful teacher and distinguished sculptor Peter Thursby. I happened to mention this to Jill on a visit to her home a few years back…she is moving and downsizing so her collection requires a bit of pruning and she recalled our conversation and offered me this choice cutting!  At the time I first saw it it was late and quite dark at her home…now I can study it carefully in good light it is particularly interesting to see that the work is painted on a cupboard door.  One of the things about the picture I particularly like is the way in which the wood and its grain is used to good effect as both ground and surface incident.  Interestingly I saw another work a year or so back in my curated show ‘Painting Too’ by Mathew Macaulay that in some ways provides an echo of this work..painted on a reclaimed timber with very loose painterly handling.  Arthur painted his picture in 57/58 , under the influence of post War School of Paris though no doubt with a nod towards Abstract Expressionism from the States that was relatively still unfamiliar in those days in the UK.  Matthew’s work was painted last year but I suspect the influences have similar echoes overlaid with a contemporary sensibility – another example for me of the inter-generational interaction I recently wrote about here.

 

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Line Dancing

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David Beaumont, Drawings @ Pluspace, Coventry 2nd to 17th August, 2014

As I’m participating in the upcoming ‘Pareidolia’ show at Matthew Macaulay’s Pluspace in Coventry I had occasion to visit last weekend that gave me the opportunity to view David Beaumont’s Drawings.  I curated a show of recent large scale drawing last year at Harrington Mill and in my introduction suggested that “Drawing is paradoxically both better and worse off than it has ever been. As the first way in which humans made sense of their surroundings visually it remains central to the idea of our visual culture, at the same time the advent of technology has made it – for many artists – utterly redundant. It features rarely in many contemporary art events.”  So it is refreshing to see an artist at work for whom drawing is the process and the product of his creativity.  That the subject of the work is a careful, indeed almost forensic, examination of his surroundings is also fairly surprising, much of the drawing activity I have recently seen by younger artists tending to be process driven.  The exhibition features a dozen or so of his recent output.  Most of the subjects are probably recognisable to those who frequent the streets depicted on a regular basis but the show explicitly doesn’t reveal location except by occasion reference to signage.  This is I suspect to serve not to distract the viewer from a careful inspection of the topography of each location.  The construction of which is quite calculated and painstakingly accurate.  Indeed the work has a meticulousness that betokens the level of sophistication at work here.  Evidence of the working out of placement and the heavily invoked selectivity of the angle and cropping set against the demands of the papers edge are testament to the creative vision of the artist.

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Another striking aspect of these drawings is the beautiful use of negative space and the signifier of blankness that is a feature of windows and other apertures in each of the works.  Such careful and considered deployment of the light that is occasioned by the heavy working of line around these punctures in the image is yet further indication of their specialness.  So much contemporary practice (across the so called ‘expanded’ field of painting, drawing and sculpture) is dependent on gesture, on the ‘casual’ or provisional that something like a Beaumont drawing that is so rigorously planned and executed comes as something of a shock.  But its a really good shock and one that, in his case, one can look forward to seeing more of.

Pareidolia | Pluspace

 

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Louisa Chambers ‘Balance I’

21st August – 14th September
50 Bishop St, Coventry CV1 1HW, UK

Ralph Anderson
Louisa Chambers
Frances Disley
Jack Foster
Rachael MacArthur
Ellie MacGarry
David Manley
Pheobe Mitchell
Andy Parkinson

Visit info

Comfort 2013, Oil on board, 17x14cm

Phoebe Mitchell / Comfort 2013, Oil on board, 17x14cm

It’s very rewarding to be a part of these shows…this one created by the energetic and very able Matthew Macaulay…that are carefully created to bring together work that shares a certain personal ‘vision’.  The result is that you can find yourself showing alongside artists of tremendous variety – certainly as regards age, gender and backgrounds – but with some characteristics that you recognise in your own work.  Given that I’ve been working for many years it occasionally surprises me that artists that I’m old enough to be the grandfather of (just I should add…) share some interests in painting that I do!  Whether that says something about me or them I’m not sure – but I hope it says something about the rude good health of the ‘tradition’ of non-objective painting despite the climate in the subsidised visual arts community in the UK.  That it takes enterprising and self effacing talents like Matthew to do these things without evident financial reward is sobering but heartening.  It shows that the things one cares passionately in are in good hands in the generation coming through right now.  If you can take a trip over to Pluspace – it sits just around the corner from the Bishop Street car park in the centre of Coventry.

Painted Thought

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Joker (Full Metal Jacket), Acrylic on Aluminium, 380 x 436 mm., 2014

It’s good to get confirmation of a show that you’ve been invited to be a part of.  Matthew Macaulay asked me some time back if I’d be interested in this one.  Now I’ve the details…Painted Thought will open Thursday 20th February at 6pm in Cardiff at the Queens Arcade in the city centre.  Hosted by Pluspace Coventry and curated by Matthew the show also features work from: Neil Clements, Gordon Dalton, Andrew Graves, Terry Greene, Rhianne Masters-Hopkins, Rachael Macarthur, Sarah McNulty, Phoebe Mitchell and Mircea Teleaga.  The introduction to the show reads:

The idea that painting must die out and be replaced by newer art forms is not the case. Painting as a discipline over the last twenty years appears to have taken a back seat, and it does not enjoy the widespread cultural attention that it enjoyed for hundreds of years. In this exhibition we offer up a group of painters that show how individual painters are deconstructing and reinventing what a painting is and what it can be.

The artists on show are all critical in the creation of their paintings, and their work reflects the growth of painting. These painters have recognized areas of activitiy not previously associated with it, and revealed new freedoms for the medium.

The change and diversification of the components of the paintings production and presentation show that painting today does not exist in a bubble and is developing. While some artists have maintained a link with traditional materials in their practice they have still been influenced by new technologies and art forms. The new forms are not conflicting, but together with painting, are parts of an expanded field.

Painted Thought continues a thread of Pluspace exhibitions, such as Without an Edge there is no Middle (2013), Form / Function (2013) and Meditations (2013), that examines contemporary painting.

Its great to be showing with a range of diverse and interesting artists, one or two of whom I know of and quite a few new to me.  It’s also very pleasing to be amongst quite a few young artists and seeing how they are picking up the baton of what painting can be nowadays.

I’ll be showing work from the Full Metal Jacket group of pictures…two of which are completed…and six of which I should be getting on with right now!