THE MYSTERY OF APPEARANCE CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN TEN BRITISH POST-WAR PAINTERS
The Mystery of Appearance is a fresh appraisal of ten artists - Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Patrick Caulfield, William Coldstream, Lucian Freud, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Leon Kossoff and Euan Uglow - with a display of over forty paintings and drawings including works that haven't been on public display for decades.
In the mid-twentieth century this group of artists revived portrait and landscape painting at a time when abstract painting dominated. Their continued influence on a younger generation of artists is demonstrated by the powerful hold figurative art has today.
The exhibition examines the influence of the personal relationships between these artists, some of which began in the late forties at the Slade where Coldstream, Freud and Hamilton taught and Andrews and Uglow studied; and then again at the Royal College of Art, where Auerbach, Caulfield, Hockney and Kossoff were students. Supported by a catalogue essay in which the curator Catherine Lampert discusses their habits and methods and introduces previously unseen writing by the artists, the exhibition will look at the way their conversations impacted on the development of their work, demonstrating that despite their wide-ranging styles they are each linked by a desire to catch what Bacon describes as 'the mystery of appearance within the mystery of making', and in doing so broke new ground in contemporary painting
The exhibition includes major works by each artist, several borrowed from public collections, among them Francis Bacon's Pope I.1951. from Aberdeen Art Gallery, David Hockney's Man in a Museum, 1962. from the British Council and others like Frank Auerbach's Primrose Hill, Winter Sunshine, 1962-64, and Euan Uglow's Nude, Lady C, 1959-60. which have not been seen in public for many years.
The Mystery of Appearance is displayed across the four galleries in Haunch of Venison's newly renovated space. The first gallery shows a selection of nudes by Auerbach, Coldstream, Freud, Hamilton and Uglow. They range from the heavily worked and abstracted to the finely calibrated and delicate and offer varied approaches to the observation and description of nudity.
The second gallery presents landscapes and portraits demonstrating how the group experimented with the materiality of paint. This is followed by a room that focuses on the special significance of the Old Masters to these artists, most of whom selected one of the 'Artist's Eye' exhibitions at the National Gallery. This section of the display gathers works which have an initial reference to an Old Master painting or museum object. The final gallery is concerned with these artists' interpretation of space and lens-based imagery - in architecture, in the natural environment and in the human body - transformed into a two-dimensional image.
The Mystery of Appearancefeatures large and small scale paintings and drawings with a focus on the artists' varied approach to paint and subject matter and the connections between their work. Given only three of these artists are still alive the exhibition is timely and poignant, setting out to re-evaluate a group of ten connected and hugely influential painters, exploring the motives, conversations and stories behind their art.
Existing or coming into being at the same period; of today or of the present. The term that designates art being made today.
A person who creates exhibitions or who is employed to look after and research museum objects.
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.
UK, London, Haunch of Venison
- 07 December 2011 − 18 February 2011