François Morellet was a French Conceptual sculptor, painter, and light artist, known for his geometric abstract art. Morellet’s earliest work were figurative paintings, but he quickly turned to abstraction, painting a series of lines that crisscrossed to form geometric shapes. He began to work in sculpture using neon tubes and continued to experiment with Minimalism and geometry in art. In 1963, along with artists Julio Le Parc and Francisco Sobrino, co-founded the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel to research new modes of artistic expression.
Ian Hamilton Finlay was a Scottish artist and writer. Trained at Glasgow School of Art, following the war, he spent a period working as a shepherd and started to write poems. With time, he began to compose poetry and inscribe them into stone; the resulting sculptures are often incorporated into the natural environment. Many of them are situated within Little Sparta, his master-work, a five-acre garden he developed with his wife, near the Pentland Hills outside of Edinburgh. Gardening and art happily cohabit here, and the expanse of land is full of his sculptural work. In 2004, Little Sparta was voted most important Scottish work of art, by a panel of artists and arts professionals, ahead of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art and Henry Raeburn’s The Skating Minister.
Finlay was prolific, endlessly creative and collaborative. Printmaking was a large part of his artistic practice, often made in collaboration with other artists, writers and technicians and involving both text and visual elements. Finlay was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1985.
Andy Goldsworthy creates outdoor sculpture using an endless array of natural materials, from snow and ice to leaves, grass, stones, clay, petals, and twigs. While influenced by the Land Art of Robert Smithson, Richard Long, and Walter de Maria, Goldsworthy’s ephemeral yet exquisitely crafted works have a geometric elegance that harkens back to the Modernist sculptures of Constantin Brancusi, whom he has also cited as an inspiration. Whether arabesques of ice, beehive stone domes, or delicate leaf patterns on water, his sculptures grow, stray, and decay according to natural cycles, their existence preserved only through vivid photographs and drawings.
Bernard Cohen is mainly known as an abstract painter. Born in London, Cohen studied at South West Essex Technical College, and, later, at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Slade School of Fine Art in London.
Bernard Cohen formed part of the DANAD Design collective, set up in 1958, alongside fellow artists Barry Daniels, Tom Adams, Peter Blake, Robyn Denny and Edward Wright, and the architects Colin Huntley and Peter Adams. Bernard Cohen’s abstract canvases featured on the international stage, touring British Council art exhibitions as well as participating at the 1966 Venice Biennale.
Beginning in the early 1960s, he produced paintings that combined several different stylistic influences, primarily Abstract Expressionism. In the mid-1970s Cohen’s works became more colorful and precise in detail, featuring densely layered patterns and motifs.
Luke Diiorio graduated from Lehigh University in 2006 with a degree in philosophy and has been painting recreationally for 15 years. It wasn’t until 2013, however, that he emerged from the Royal College of Art in London with an MA and adopted his own contemporary form of minimalism.
Philip Sutton was born in Poole, Dorset, in 1928 but grew up in Leyton, east London. After leaving school at the age of 14, he worked in a drawing office before carrying out three years’ National Service, during which he was involved in the Berlin Airlift.
Alan Davie was one of Britain’s most internationally acclaimed artists in the 1950s and 60’s and is arguably Scotland’s most important artist of the twentieth century. He was the first British painter to realise and recapitulate the vitality and significance of American Abstract Expressionism.
Davie studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938-40. As a young man he developed a love of the arts, wrote poetry and played the saxophone in a jazz band. In 1945 Davie was deeply impressed by two exhibitions – Picasso at the V&A and Klee at the Tate. Not long after in 1948 he visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice where he came across the paintings of Jackson Pollock. Davie was inspired by American Abstract Expressionism as well as Surrealism and the Cobra group.
In 1956 Davie made his first trip to the United States where he was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Catherine Viviano Gallery and was introduced to Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning. Meeting that inspired some of the finest art work of his career.
Throughout his life Alan Davie obsessively drew and painted, producing paintings of startling originality, vitality and daring. As early as 1958 Alan Davie emphasised the importance in his work of intuition as expressed in the form of enigmatic signs. During the 1960s, both in paintings and in coloured lithographs, he represented such images with increasing clarity at the expense of gestural handling. Seeing and sensing the limits of abstract expressionism, Davie re-embraced image and symbol combining in heterodox fashion imagery derived from the understandings of the absolute in the cultures of the world and its governance of the realm which we inhabit.
The work that we show here is a magnificent example of Davie’s 1970’s style it is one of the largest and most impressive works in the 1971 Phantom in the Room series. Phantom in the Room No.9 takes a new look at his mysterious rooms of the early 1950s which were filled with such intensity and were generally sombre. Here we have a positively joyous palette, yet there is still a sense of brooding contrasted against forms which could equally have sprung from his best 1960s works. There is the familiar tight composition and careful balance and highly sensitive use of colour to produce an intriguing and strong painting. Phantom in the Room No.9 was in the Edinburgh Festival and is a seminal 1970s painting.
The work itself has been extensively celebrated and exhibited ( See below)
Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, International Festival 1972, Alan Davie, Paintings 1952-72, 19 August-17 September 1972, cat.no.30; this exhibition travelled to Braunschweig, Kunstverein Braunschweig, 5 November-22 December 1972 and Karlsruhe, Badischer Kunstverein, January 1973
Genoa, Galleria d’Arte Rinaldo Rotta, Alan Davie, Mostra Personale, November-December 1973
London, Portland Gallery, Alan Davie, The Eternal Conjurer, 8 May-June 2014, p.61, cat.no.28 (col.ill.)
Douglas Hall and Michael Tucker, Alan Davie, Lund Humphries, London, 1992, cat.no.650
Alan Davie was elected a Senior Royal Academician in 2012.
Kika Karadi was born in 1975 in Budapest, Hungary and moved to the United States at age 11. She attended Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and graduated with a B.F.A. in 1997.
Karadi had her first European solo show in Naples, Italy, in 2006. In 2017, she was an artist in residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. She has held solo exhibitions at the Jonathan Viner Gallery in London and The Journal Gallery in New York City.
Karadi is noted for her large-scale paintings made in response to the aesthetics of the film noir genre. Her paintings were described as “black stenciled signage on a white background”, in which she “reintroduces hints of representation – atmospheric cinematic scenes, figurative forms and symbols which welcome the impurities of cultural collision.” She approaches painting with a monographic technique. Her body of work using this process refers to the abandoned Oak Park Mall in Austin, Minnesota where she maintained her studio since early 2014.
Christina Burch’s paintings are inspired by a variety of art and cultural contexts, including her extensive travels in Italy, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine education at the Swedish Institute in New York, Japanese and Tantric painting, and passion for Contemporary Art. Characterized by vivid color, stylized ornament, clean surfaces, lyrical imagery, and a poetic, sensuous and magical quality, Burch has gained an important global clientele for her commissioned work. The Eastern view of energy and embodiment has been very influential in her recent works which contemplate the sensual, poetic dimension of figuration in painting.
A member of the Brooklyn-based organization The Still House Group, Dylan Lynch constructs sculptures from everyday found objects. Mostly store-bought, Lynch’s materials are selected intuitively, for what he describes as their immediate attraction; they range from ceiling tiles and cinderblocks to shopping carts and sports equipment. He reveals his hand in the impossibly delicate and precarious constructions of his pieces—like a baseball balancing in the crux of a crowbar, a folding chair balanced on just two of its feet, or a leaning tower of drop ceiling tiles appearing constantly of the verge of toppling over.
Laura Migotto lives and works in Rome where she graduated from the Artistic Lyceum and Academy of Fine Arts. She began her artistic career as a set and costume designer for theater and television. In 1982 she created an artistic laboratory producing graphics, painting and sculpture drawing upon her work in illustration and advertising. She founded TANGRAM, her current studio in 1984. Here she specializes, in traditional expressive techniques (oils on canvas and wood, acrylics, cement, metals, recycled wood, terracotta and enamels), but also includes information and digital technology that she uses for the creation and manipulation of images both painted and photographic. In each of her works she tries to enclose a made history from an expression and a gesture, an object or a symbol, a phrase or a combination of numbers. All of these elements, or the use of only one of them is crafted to engage the observer, to attract his interest, to transmit magnetism and to stimulate the human imagination, orienting the viewer to interpret what he or she observes. Her work is aimed at bringing out significant aspects of the depths of each of us, the vibrations, the thoughts both explict and hidden, the possible point of union between magic and reality. What is hidden and yet contained in a look or a gesture.The work tries to represent beyond what is seen by opening a window on the limits of our limits, on the dream, on mysterious symbols. Her works of painting and sculpture are in various public and private institutions and are in numerous private collections both in Italy and abroad.
Ryan Conrad Sawyer Born 1983, Smithfield, VA Lives and works in between Virginia and Brooklyn
Leif Ritchey is an American contemporary artist whose works combine art, music, and fashion. He is a colorist and often creates his work with an impasto application of white paint for both texture and dimension. He is known for his use of pale, pastel colors, manipulated pours and textures. He is the co-founder of Leif and Tooya Clothing as well as a member of the experimental surf band, Shades.
Should categorization be a desirable goal, then Matt Sheridan Smith is about as difficult to file as the work is astringently intelligent: the press texts for his exhibitions tend to read like obscure treatises on gardening, history or viticulture. Perhaps occupying a post-Duchampian world of conceptual practice, and a proven, published master of the nearly lost art of interactive fiction (IF), where there textual input and the decisions of a reader determine the flow and/or outcome of a narrative, Sheridan Smith’s art is redolent with visual and literary puns, dark and clever twists and turns. In the broad scheme, his works articulates concerns of loss, language and identity, and attempts to preempt the necessity, or undermine the purpose of memory.
Characteristically his solo project for Frieze, Frame (New York, 2012) was centred on the phenomena of ‘cryptomnesia’ – forgetting to remember that you forgot something). His diverse media practice consists of pre-fabricated art kits, paper paintings, ‘expiration’ portraits, silver-plated breads, cups with saucers (fluids/viscosities), bananas, inflated backpacks, a transportable plywood stoop, proximity word poems printed on walls, scratch-off ink drawings, and outcrops of poisonous plants…
Sheridan Smith’s recent exhibitions include a second solo exhibition with mother’s tankstation limited Pilot Fig.3 Ep.1(2016), the third in a series of international exhibitions that deal solely, specifically, with the non-objective portraiture of four characters; three historic, “pilot”, “cyclist”, “widow”, and one living “unknown young actress”. In 2012, his work was presented by mother’s tankstation limited at Frieze, Frame, New York. Other recent solo presentations include Untitled (open/shut) at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Flotsam/Jetsam, Western Bridge, Seattle; and a two-person show in the Front Room, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Sheridan Smith has received grants and commissions from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation and the Public Art Fund, New York. He has undertaken residencies in Paris (administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, March-August, 2010), Geneva (Forde, 2011) and Milan (Kaufmann Repetto, 2011).
Jonas Lund (born 1984, Linköping, Sweden) creates paintings, sculpture, photography, websites and performances that incorporate data from his studies of art world trends and behavior. He earned an MA at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2013) and a BFA at Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam (2009). He had a solo exhibition at Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam (2013); and has had work included in numerous group exhibitions including at Eyebeam, New York; New Museum, New York, Xpo Gallery, Paris; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and De Hallen, Haarlem. His work has been written about on Rhizome, Huffington Post, Furtherfield and Wired.
For Flip City, Lund created forty digital paintings. Each work has elements sampled from paintings by other emerging artists, yet Lund’s works are so thoroughly remixed that only a very astute observer might see familiar passages. Lund will install a GPS tracking device on the stretcher bar of each painting so that he can track its movements and approximate whereabouts. He will also maintain a website with this information in the years to come. You can visit this website at http://flip-city.net
To describe Travess Smalley’s work, one could employ a number of terms—painting, photography, sculpture, collage, digital, physical, virtual—without fully capturing what the artist achieves. In his own words, his practice aims at creating an experience “where the viewer’s visual vocabulary just draws a blank and they can no longer distinguish the digital from the real.” For his “Vector Weaves” series, Smalley employs a hybrid digital/analog method that he has called creating “Feedback Loops.” First printing vector-based patterns onto paper with different degrees of transparency, the artist then layers the prints and scans them into one image. The resulting abstract, colorful collages are enlarged and printed on vinyl, then stretched over aluminum frames. By using Photoshop as an extension of his material artmaking, Smalley is able to archive the different processes that he applies to individual images, enabling them to be used again and creating a rich platform for quotation and alteration of his past works.
Mike Perry’s photographs examine the interactions of landscapes, nature and industrial society. Over the last 20 years his practice has focused on Britain’s National Parks and increasingly the immediate surroundings of Pembrokeshire where he lives and works, questioning the romantic mythology of national parks as areas of wilderness and natural beauty.
He uses large format photography in order to simultaneously capture the painterly tones and aesthetic qualities of the landscape’s surface as well as detailing the impacts of humanity’s exploitation of nature for commercial gains. Series of smaller photographs show objects found in the landscape at 1:1 scale, capturing the effect of natural processes on the surfaces of industrially produced materials. Discussing the tension between the seductive surfaces and worrying content of his work, he commented that ‘as well as highlighting the overconsumption and pollution they show nature’s ability to shape our world whether we humans are here or not’
Perry’s work has been exhibited at National Museum Wales (2012), The Royal Academy of Arts (2014), the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and Foundling Museum (2016). In 2017 he was included in the British Arts Council Collection exhibition British Landscape and The Imagination at Towner Art Gallery. His solo exhibition Land/Sea received Arts Council Wales touring funds and travelled between Plymouth Arts Centre, Ffotogallery, Mostyn and Aberystwyth Arts Centre during 2017-18, and will open at Thelma Hubert Gallery and Exeter University in 2020. He represented Wales at the 2018 Interceltique Arts Festival in Lorient, France and in 2020/21 he has a solo exhibition at National Museum Wales’s Oriel y Parc. Perry was awarded a Creative Wales Award in 2015.
Mike Perry was born in Birmingham in 1960. He has a post graduate degree in economics and is involved in a number of environmental projects. He has worked with Greenpeace, was a founding director of the green energy firm solarcentury, and presented to the Treasury on culture and climate change with economist Nicholas Stern and artist Antony Gormley. He was invited to the first Tipping Point symposium on climate change between leading scientists and artists at Oxford University and is currently in the process of rewilding a small holding in West Wales.
Tracey Moffatt AO is an Australian artist who primarily uses photography and video. In 2017 she represented Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale with her solo exhibition, “My Horizon”.
Andy Warhol was an American artist, film director, and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture that flourished by the 1960s, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best known works include the silkscreen paintings Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962), the experimental film Chelsea Girls (1966), and the multimedia events known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–67).
Francis Cape has presented his work internationally in solo shows and group exhibitions. For his project “The Other End of the Line”, at the High Line, New York (2010), Cape sited a vintage 1972 mobile home under the High Line on Gansevoort Plaza in which he invited Ian Berry, curator of the Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, to house a group exhibition. A graduate with an MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London (1991), Cape is the recipient of a 2001 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and a Pollock Krasner Grant (2010), among others.
Michaela Zimmer is a Postwar & Contemporary artist who was born in 1964. Their work was featured in several exhibitions at key galleries and museums, including the Fold Gallery.
Harold Cohen was born in London in 1928. He studied at Slade School of Fine Art where he also taught for several years after completing his degree. During the 1960s he exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1966), Documenta 3 (1964), the Paris Biennale, the Carnegie International and many other international shows; in 1965 the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London organized an exhibition dedicated to him. He exhibited regularly at the Robert Fraser Gallery in London and the Alan Stone Gallery in New York.
In 1971 Cohen spent time at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and his fascination with artificial intelligence led him to create the AARON programme, a machine-based simulation of the cognitive processes underlying the human act of drawing. He showed this project at the Tate, the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam’s Stedeljik Museum as well as science centres in the US, Europe and Japan.
The painting exhibited here is one of Cohen’s most seminal works. It was painted at a time when London had begun to rival New York as a cultural centre for young Pop artists, Cohen belonged to an emerging generation of American-influenced abstract painters that included Richard Smith, Robyn Denny and Harold’s own brother Bernard. It was exhibited at the famous Whitechapel retrospective of his work in 1965 and is listed in the exhibition catalogue as no 41. It is perhaps one of the very best large works by Cohen, it exemplifies all the qualities that propelled him to be one of the leading British artists of the 1960’s. The British Arts Council and The Tate and many international museums and collections hold examples of his work.
Louis Eisner’s paintings vary in imagery and subject—and sometimes lack a subject entirely. In one of his best-known series, “Void Paintings” (2011), Eisner painted large-scale ambient backgrounds with their sitters missing—creating portraits of, essentially, nothing. Eisner’s other works are more graphic and feature recognizable images, like popular cartoon characters or vividly colored children’s slides. Leviathan (2013), one of Eisner’s rare sculptural works, features cut outs from MAD Magazine strung from a mobile, ultimately meant to parallel Thomas Hobbes’s theory of social organization. Eisner is also an active member of the artist-led organization, The Still House Group.
The Boyle Family, a collaborative group of artists, is known for their “Earth studies”—site-specific black-and-white 3-D casts of the earth. The communal group, started by husband and wife team Mark Boyle and Joan Hills, later came to include the couple’s children and even their friends and neighbors, who assisted in the artistic process. Boyle came from a poetry background, while Hills studied art and architecture. The two sought to objectively present reality in their work by decontextualizing randomly selected subjects. “We want to see without motive and without reminiscence this cliff, this street, this field, this rock, this earth,” they’ve said. In addition to exploring natural elements, animals, minerals, and society, the Boyle Family has collaborated with many musicians, artists, and dancers, including Jimi Hendrix and Soft Machine.
Jill Moser’s strongly gestural paintings and prints are calculated explosions of calligraphic lines and color. Her oeuvre is largely an exploration of the language of abstraction. She pairs wide and vigorous brushstrokes with fine line work: looping curves, areas of color saturation, and spaces of smoky evanescence. Like Philip Guston, Moser’s broader practice centers on a dialogue between painting and printmaking. “To work on a print is to strip down the constructive parts of an image, slowing down and revealing the performative aspects of its making,” she says. “I’m intrigued by how the process records both the structure and the event and makes the process become visible.” The print allows Moser to introduce a mechanical process that mediates between her hand and the image thereby allowing her to slow down and re-encounter her own gestures.
Albert Irvin RA OBE RWA (Hon) was one of Britain’s most important post-war artists and is best known for his large-scale abstract colourist paintings. He was born in London on the 21st August 1922 and died on the 26 March 2015. At the age of 18 he was he was evacuated from London during World War II, to study at the Northampton School of Art between 1940 and 1941, before being conscripted into the Royal Air Force as a navigator. When the war was over, he resumed his course at Goldsmiths College from 1946 to 1950, where he would later go on to teach between 1962 and 1983.
This from the Guardian’s obituary of Bert puts it all rather well “The artist Albert Irvin, who has died aged 92, created an extraordinary body of abstract paintings, watercolours and prints. His work became prominent in the reinvigoration of British painting in the 1980s and 90s, and latterly became familiar through wide exhibition and reproduction. He made colour sweep and spray over pictorial areas that give the illusion of depth, created by complex and dynamic marks and gestures of the handheld brush. He often took on a grand scale, but also created brilliant and beautifully crafted works on paper.”
His breakthrough period began with a revelatory exhibition at the Acme Gallery in London in 1980, and in that year’s Hayward Annual, selected by John Hoyland. A touring exhibition in 1983 in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Birmingham surveyed his work from the previous seven years. Gimpel Fils Gallery in London began to show his work. Irvin’s art finally found a wide audience. Significant exhibitions in Ireland, Australia and at the Serpentine Gallery, London, secured his reputation. He became an RA in 1998.
The present work purchased directly from Gimpel Fils, comes from arguably his most seminal period, the late great years of Britain’s foremost painter of colour.
His work is widely exhibited both in the UK and abroad, in such places as Arts Council of Great Britain, Birmingham City Art Gallery, the Chase Manhattan Bank, the Contemporary Art Society, Manchester City Art Gallery, Whitworth Gallery Manchester, Leeds City Gallery Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum Oxford University, Cambridge University and Warwick University Arts Centre. Irvin was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to the visual arts.