Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present “HOMELAND”, a display of paintings by a group of British artists whose motifs and strategies may be seen as contemporary takes on History Painting. Using varying and contrasting approaches, the works engage with the appropriation and manipulation of historical and art historical images.
Toby Ziegler’s recent paintings on aluminium are works of pure abstraction that begin with a figurative motif. Taking a digital image of a landscape painting by Thomas Gainsborough as his starting point, Ziegler manipulates the image on a computer, changing the polarity of the colours and altering their saturation so that the formal qualities are retained but the colour information is unrecognisably distorted. The altered composition is then painted onto an aluminium panel. Progressing into erasure, the paint is subsequently removed using an electric sander to reveal the metal beneath. Ziegler’s process subjects the images to a process of digital and physical obliteration, in which representational pictorial information gives way to new abstract forms. Rather than disclosing the attempt to perfect or adjust a composition, these paintings experiment with the relationship between control and abandon and revel in its dissolution.
Dexter Dalwood, conversely, reconstructs places or sites from collages of memory, cultural, political and painted and imagined history. Dalwood references pivotal historic people and moments, interlacing elusive allusions and social histories with art historical iconographies. Quoting works such as a 1950 painting by De Kooning, who during a lecture in the same year spoke of art history as a “train track that goes way back to Mesopotamia”, the manifold landscape of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” purely through its painted reality, produces a strong sense of time, site, memory and history. Somewhere between the title, the fragments of imagery and the viewer’s subjectivity, each work acquires a meaning that continues to re-invigorate and re-invent contemporary history painting.
With technical virtuosity, Glenn Brown’s practice copies and modifies reproductions of works of art, imitating the painted surface in a perfect illusion, while being completely devoid of texture and further manipulating the image through variation of colours. Rendering thick brush marks in a flat, photographic manner, works by artists such as Frank Auerbach and Karel Appel are reproduced from pictures in books and magazines, in an extreme form of quotation that draws further attention to the medium. With painterly rhetoric and sophisticated distortion, Brown examines our relationship with the art of the past from Rococo to Mannerist, Expressionist and Surrealist, while also exploring issues of original authorship and reproduction.
In jarring juxtapositions of contemporary, modernist and retro-futuristic motifs within classical landscape compositions, Ged Quinn’s large scale paintings combine anachronistic references to art and literature with the strong traditions of landscape and still-life painting. Scenes resembling pastoral visions are muddled and dramatised with historical and imaginative curiosities from social, cultural and political history. Canonised meanings of the historical paintings are shifted into an unstructured narrative in which the layered quotations, motifs and symbols are in conversation and competition, encoding a tension deep within the imagistic theatre of the work.
Glenn Brown (b. 1966) lives and works in London and Suffolk. Recent solo museum exhibitions include Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2013–14), Upton House, Oxfordshire, England (2012), Tate Liverpool, England (2009; traveled to Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; and Museum Ludwig, Budapest, through 2010), Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2008) and Serpentine Gallery, London (2004). His work was included in Glenn Brown and Rebecca Warren: Collected Works, Rennie Collection, Wing Sang, Vancouver (2013), Riotous Baroque: From Cattelan to Zurbaran, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2013), Second Hand, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2010), 10,000 Lives, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2010), Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection, Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2009), Ecstasy: In & About Altered States, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005) and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003).
Dexter Dalwood (b.1960) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Kunsthaus Centre d’art Centre PasquArt, Biel, Switzerland (2013); Orientalism, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark (2012); Dichter und Drogen, Nolan Judin, Berlin, Germany (2011) and a major solo exhibition at Tate St Ives (2010), which toured to FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France and CAC Malaga, Spain. His work will be included in the exhibition Fighting History at Tate Britain (2015). Recent group exhibitions have included The Venice Syndrome - Grandeur and Fall in the Art of Venice, Gammel Holtegaard, Denmark (2014), Not Being Attentive I Notice Everything: Robert Walser and the Visual Arts, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, (2014); Le Corps de l'Absence, FRAC Champagne Ardennes, Reims, Setting the Scene, Tate Modern, London (2012) and Dublin Contemporary (2011). He has work in numerous public collections including: Tate, The British Council Collection and The Saatchi Gallery.
Ged Quinn (b. 1963) lives and works in Cornwall, UK. Solo and group exhibitions include Ged Quinn, New Art Gallery Walsall, West Midlands, UK (2013-2014), Landscape 2000, Osnabru ck Cultural History Museum and Felix Nussbaum Haus, Germany (2013-2014), Looking at the View, Tate Britain, London, England (2013), Endless Renaissance, Bass Museum, Miami, USA (2012-2013), FOCUS, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, USA (2012), Lust for Life & Dance of Death, Kunsthalle Krems (2010), Newspeak: British Art Now, Saatchi Gallery, London (2010) touring to State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersberg (2009), Made Up, Liverpool Biennale, Tate Liverpool (2008) and Utopia Dystopia, Tate St. Ives, UK (2004). Quinn's works are included in prominent collections internationally, including British Museum, London, England; the FLAG Art Foundation, New York, USA; The Honart Museum, Iran; Tel Aviv Art Museum, Israel; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Olbricht Collection, Essen; Tate Collection, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Toby Ziegler (b. 1972) lives and works in London. Previous solo and group exhibitions include Expanded Narcissistic Envelope, Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2014), Toby Ziegler, New Art Centre - Roche Court Sculpture Park, Salibury, UK (2014), The Alienation of Objects, Zabludowicz Collection, London and Sarisalvo, Finland, New Art Gallery, Walsall and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki (2011-2012); Gold, Belvedere, Vienna (2012); The Future Demands Your Participation, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); Newspeak: British Art Now, The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg and The Saatchi Gallery, London (2009-2010); and Hamsterwheel, initiated by Franz West, Malmö Konsthall (2008). His work is part of major private and public collections including The Arts Council of England; The British Council; Tate Britain; Saatchi Gallery; François Pinault Foundation; Zabludowicz Collection; Goss-Michael Foundation; Kadist Art Foundation; British Airways Collection; Hudson Valley Centre for Contemporary Art and Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.
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