The Return: an exhibition of recent work by six London painters
Riverside Studios is delighted to present The Return: an exhibition of recent work by six London painters, featuring work by Bruno Déroulède, Stephen Feather, Bill McCombe, Fred Mugford, Jon Ridge and Mick Sales.
The Return: an exhibition of recent work by six London painters presents a diverse selection of work brought together by a shared concern in evoking the human form and landscape in art. Depicting anything from bulbous balloon bodies, fragmented figures and isolated individuals to obliterated landscapes, fractured scenes and desolate locations, these works capture forms caught between states of being. Often approaching and receding, reforming and deconstructing simultaneously as if in some primordial soup, these forms move within the picture plane of images exploring the metamorphic relationship between representation and abstraction.
In response to his controversial stylistic transition, between abstraction and representation, the painter Philip Guston said;*’The appearance may change, that’s why the comments about style sound strange to me, you know, you work in this style or that style as if you had a choice in the matter. What you’re doing is trying to stay alive and continue, not die. Therefore it’s circular….’ Despite a hostile reaction from the art establishment, Guston continued to pursue his personal vision and produce work like; The Return, 1956 – 58, now on display in Tate Modern, which is symbolic of his philosophy and approach to painting. It is in this spirit and homage to The Return, that this show marks the return of contemporary art by local painters to the Riverside Studios Gallery. By presenting a visually dynamic selection of painting, the display aims to stretch viewers’ perception of everyday appearance.
* PHILIP GUSTON A Life Lived a film by Michael Blackwood (1980, 58 minutes, color) © Michael Blackwood Productions 2012
All Rights Reserved http://www.michaelblackwoodproductions.com/index.php
The Return: an exhibition of recent work by six London painters.
Curated by Stephen Feather.
Bruno Déroulède, born in 1969, graduated from Wimbledon College of Art in 2010.
Stephen Feather, born in 1983, graduated from Kingston University in 2005.
Bill McCombe, attended Wimbledon College of Art from 1962 – 1964. He occasionally lectures at West Dean College.
Fred Mugford, born in 1964 in Silver Lake, California, is a self taught artist.
Jon Ridge, graduated from Chelsea College of Art in 2009.
Michael Sales, born in 1959, is a self taught artist.
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Bruno Déroulède,born in 1969, graduated from Wimbledon College of Art in 2010. My work explores identity, gregariousness and isolation in our contemporary culture. Taking inspiration from traditional portraiture and social realism, I usually paint anonymous individuals or groups, either in clothing that defines them or in a context that unifies them. Clothing in general and uniforms in particular are to me a “tool” used to illustrate the complex relationship between the self and social identity. I use photography as a source for my work but also as a symbol of the public gaze and of our image-driven culture. Underlying my work is the question of painting’s identity in relation to photography’s portrayal of our modern world. I see the figures I paint in their ‘unique uniforms’ as individuals who strive to exist but evolve in a world where the need to be recognized as an individual collides with the need to belong.
Stephen Feather, born in 1983, graduated from Kingston University in 2005 and subsequently attended Heatherley School of Fine Art and Putney School of Art. In my work I am drawn to the form, shape, line and colour in an image, object or visual idea. In exploring these formal qualities with rapid sketching, painterly brushwork and experimentation I try to tease out new meaning and ideas and aim to form new images and works of art. I use anything from fine art reproductions to photographs and from newspapers as source images and starting points for work. My work and style is informed by fine art, video games, television and advertising in that it has been inspired by a bold, direct, synthetic aesthetic. Taking inspiration from Japanese woodblock printing, Japanese Manga and Surrealism, I like to paint large expanses of flat colour, bold forms with clear delineation and bright, vibrant hues in my work. Playing with the picture plane by using perspective and modifying other traditional pictorial devices I intend to provoke sensation and implicate the viewer in the picture, whether this is by positioning the viewer below two giant sword wielding hands or in the vortex of some portal to infinity. Similarly I like the transformative nature of art in relating to everyday reality. For example; using a realistic depiction of my own feet as a starting point for a figure that is being pulled, pushed and contorted is an attempt to break away from the observe and record process of life painting by imaginatively dealing with the human form.
Bill McCombeattended Wimbledon School of Art 1962-4. Graduated City & Guilds School of Art 1972-5. Partner in Art restoration company (Carvers & Gilders) 1975-2004. Occasional lecturer/demonstrator at West Dean College Art in Action, The Indian Crafts Council, Chennai. My work uses both the human figure and landscape as foundations for ongoing experiments in abstraction. The spontaneity and energy created in the composition is partly a result of the process of moving from figurative to abstract, sometimes using collage to deconstruct formal naturalistic motives and allowing accidental and chance marks to suggest new forms. Positive and negative shapes become confused, revised and reassembled. I see paint and cut paper to be totally interchangeable and complementary to each other. This process is applied to my landscapes which are often studies not of a particular view or place but more an impression of a district, or journeys through a district relying on fleeting images memories and colours to evoke the overall atmosphere and character. My work evolves in a circular rather than linear direction – often I will revisit previous sources of interest sometimes refining and often reusing them to initiate new lines of development.
Fred Mugford, born in 1964 in Silverlake, California, and grew up in Los Angeles, Bogota and London. He has worked in the film industry and as an aviation photographer and graphic artist before moving to London to write and paint. His work explores inner states of being, the everyday mundane objects and moments of living. Much of his work is deceptively simple with touches of subtle humour, expressing what he feels about the complexities and absurdities of the human condition.
Jon Ridge, graduated from Chelsea College of Art in 2009. Through construction and erosion of form, and the editing of tiny paint experiments, the different layers of paint contain a trail of possiblities, abandoned in the process as soon as they became too apparent. My work seeks to negotiate a subtle “boundary dispute”, between the abstract and the figurative, echoing the point at which one’s conscious self, meets one’s unconscious self. The work is as much about applying the paint, and the ‘paint as object’, as the gradually evolved and corrupted forms of depiction on it. Particularly in my latter pieces, landscape is a reference point, but a physical landscape is only really alluded to. They are more accurately “landscaping a spirit”; similtaneously referencing natural phenomena, whilst commenting on one’s place amongst it. Influences are absorbed from wildly disparate sources, and sit side by side, making lateral connections and drawing unlikely parallels, across history, genre and discipline.
Michael Sales, born in 1959 is a self taught artist. Colour blindness and dyslexia help me to be more creative. I have always taken an interest in art and a recent medical condition has brought me back to painting again. It’s made me appreciate the pressures of life and I express this in my painting. In my work the viewer has to use their own imagination in order to perceive and interpret what is in front of them. I am influenced by the world changing around me and the changing state of the image on my canvas.