Slow Art : June 15th – July 10th.
Group Show: Luke Elwes, Pierre Imhof, Ingrid Kerma, Gary Komarin, Alf Löhr, Kate Palmer, Andrew Vass.
“What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and making whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn't merely sensational, that doesn't get its message across in ten seconds, that isn't falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures.”
Robert Hughes at the Royal Academy Annual Dinner June 2004.
The artists shown have very diverse ways of creating work, and different intentions, but all fall within the boundaries of the remarks made by Robert Hughes. The exhibition is intended to demonstrate that although not always considered fashionable nonetheless there is a dynamic, active area of painting that sometimes falls away from the mainstream ‘mass-media’ characterisation of art. And which highlights the notion of painting as something that benefits not from a “lifetime of experience” but from the more demanding “lifetime of practice”.
This will be the first time that we have exhibited the work of Luke Elwes and Alf Löhr – more details of them and their work as well as the other artists in this exhibition can be found on our website www.broadbentgallery.com from Monday 14th June.
NB THERE IS NO PRIVATE VIEW FOR THIS EVENT AND NO POSTAL INVITATION
Sam Francis and Contemporaries: 14th July – 4th September
Sam Francis sometimes seems to occupy a curious place in the history of Abstract Expressionism. He spent time in New York – where he exhibited, with amongst other “first generation” abstract expressionists, Jackson Pollock at the Martha Jackson Gallery - but perhaps was more influenced by his time in Europe and in particular Paris. In the 1950s straddling the Atlantic in this way he was involved in numerous group shows, exhibiting with a wide range of artists.
This exhibition will bring together some of the people he exhibited with through the 1950s and shows the range of art being produced at this time. As well as work produced by Sam Francis from the 1950s in New York and Europe, the show will also include works by Karel Appel, Alan Davie, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Mark Tobey, Cy Twombly, among others.
ROBERT HUGHES the critic perhaps best known for his book “Shock of the New” covered a broad range of topics in his controversial speech to the Royal Academy earlier this month. Several comments particularly struck me. One of these, his comment about “Art that holds time as a vase holds water” has become the source for the title of our group show opening next week: Slow Art (see above).
Hughes also suggests one should dissociate art from the mass media – “For no spiritually authentic art can beat mass media at their own game: that, we have to admit and take for granted, and move on.” The mass media fails to capture or preserve the fragile but rich edges of creativity that painting and drawing can offer; of course there are artists that have adapted to the mass media – generally by recognising their limits and conforming to them - this however does not necessarily make them better or more interesting: “A string of brush marks on a lace collar in a Velasquez can be as radical as the shark that an Australian caught for a couple of Englishmen some years ago and is now murkily disintegrating in its tank on the other side of the Thames. More radical, actually.”
Of course these comments are not limited only to the contemporary or controversial – the criticism levelled at the ‘modern master’ Edward Hopper and the ‘upstart’ Jack Vettriano can sometimes be summarised as a disappointment that seeing the paintings in the flesh adds nothing to the experience of the image; that the poster is as good as the painting, and that the painting is only an icon.
We need to give painting and drawing a chance to unfold in its own time – to allow us to respond to its deep looking without being confused by its need to engage with mass media. But it does mean more legwork – getting to see the painting in the flesh, as produced by the artist; it also requires more personal commitment to the piece directly - more intimacy.
All quotes are from the transcript of Robert Hughes’ address at the Royal Academy, London Annual Dinner June 2004
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