An exhibition of contemporary painting opens today at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea, featuring works by established artists such as Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff alongside relative newcomers. It promises to be a wide-ranging celebration of the medium, although the emphasis is definitely on the more gestural, colourful, restless side to its character.
‘Immediacy is one theme of this exhibition. We have selected works that we believe evoke a response to painting and about the practice of painting’, explain the curators, Dan Howard-Birt and David Rhodes, in the exhibition’s catalogue. ‘We wanted to know what the artists were working on, and what is driving their work in the here and now.’ Here’s what seven of the 21 exhibited artists had to say about their own process:
For Daniels, tin foil is ‘like a blank canvas yet absorbent and reflective, a means to create a form or motif, facets uncontrollable, natural, light folded, colours reflected, photographed and then made solid in paint.’
‘I need to start again, as though from the beginning, with the way I paint, the way I draw. Paintings of the tree in spring, the tree in autumn, the tree with a child passing between the stakes, the tree with a nearby tube train, and the tree with a house emerged.’
Christopher Le Brun
‘In my new work I feel I am returning to my first insights and discoveries about painting, finding them just as potent and emotionally charged as I did then.’
‘The new paintings are sculptures, or the new sculptures are paintings. I am attempting to work backwards, sideways, forwards, with painting and photography to make the new sculpture. Everything I have been doing for the last 40 or so years has been an attempt discover new ways of doing things’.
‘I painted Ben quite thickly, using different source material, and imagination (the very high pitched ‘red’ colour of the heart was made up for example) to express the feelings I was after.’
‘Sea Paintings are made below the high water line at the sea’s edge. After immersion, the sodden canvases are pulled from the sea and stretched out onto the beach. Mineral pigments are thrown directly onto the sea-beaten canvas; its folds and creases catching the grains of colour.’
‘While I can find no interest in images created by the opening of a camera shutter for a 125th of a second, I am fascinated by the sequencing of several thousand visual moments, that I would compact into a single painted image, into an experience that operates through time like a visual extension of theatre.’
All quotations are from the catalogue I cheer a dead man’s sweetheart
© the authors
‘I Cheer a Dead Man’s Sweetheart: 21 painters in Britain’ is at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, until 29 June.