Victoria Miro presents Secundino HernŠndez | Celia Paul
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Untitled, 2014 (detail)
gouache, acrylic, oil and alkyd on canvas 280 x 210 cm 110 1/4 x 82 5/8 in
11 June - 2 August 2014
Victoria Miro Gallery I
16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
Victoria Miro is pleased to announce that the gallery now represents Spanish painter Secundino Hernández, and is delighted to present his first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Hernández's diverse and energetic painting features intricately structured compositions that mix strong linear elements and rich bursts of colour. Some canvases feature abstracted, atomised forms, while others have more densely overlaid imagery in which it is possible to pick out figurative elements.
His paintings deftly combine representation and abstraction, linear draughtsmanship and colouration, minimalism and gesturalism. Over the course of his career Hernández has mixed diverse references: a physicality that recalls Action Painting, the shorthand figuration of cartoons, and passages evoking painterly precedents ranging from El Greco to Giacometti, Velázquez to Picabia. This stylistic multiplicity grows out of Hernández's detailed and informed knowledge of art history. While his references are broad he has, in recent years, developed a specific engagement with the work of old and modern masters from his native country, Spain, as a way of getting in touch with his personal and artistic roots.
In keeping with the breadth of his influences, Hernández employs a variety of techniques including washing, scraping, and working directly from paint tubes. He has a meticulous and process-oriented approach to making work, and his paintings openly display the triumphs and struggles of the artist's practice, creating a tension between beauty and destruction.
For his first show with Victoria Miro, Hernández has produced a series of 'wash' paintings. These paintings are characterised by strong underlays of colour and a gestural use of line. The works are produced by layering and removing layers of paint. Hernández's method involves literally digging through layers of paint to the canvas, in a process that the artist associates with sculptural carving. The resulting paintings have a dramatic, exploratory quality.
Hernández was born in 1975 in Madrid, where he currently lives and works. He has recently had solo exhibitions at Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria (2007, 2010, 2014); Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland (2010, 2014); Galerie Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid, Spain (2006, 2009, 2011, 2013) and Galerie Bärbel Grässlin (2013). He has also participated in group shows including Alone Together at the Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, USA (2013); Dialogos DKV - Patio Herreriano at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Espanol, Valladolid, Spain (2013); Berlin Status 1 at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2012) and Berlin Klondyke 2011 at Art Center Los Angeles, USA (2011). His work is in numerous institutional and private collections, including Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid, Spain; Helga de Alvear Foundation, Cáceres, Spain; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA; Kunstdepot Göschenen, Switzerland and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with text by Lorena Muñoz-Alonso
12 June - 2 August 2014
Victoria Miro Gallery II
16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
Victoria Miro is pleased to announce that the gallery now represents renowned British painter Celia Paul and is delighted to present her first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Paul's paintings have an otherworldly, haunting quality. She makes intimate depictions of people and places she knows well. She has made no commissioned portraits; her portrayals of people exclusively feature close family members and friends. From 1977-2007 Paul worked on a series of paintings of her mother, and since then she has concentrated on her four sisters, especially her sister Kate, as well as a number of portraits of close friends. She has also produced a large number of evocative self-portraits over the course of her career. As art critic Laura Cumming has described, 'Paul's paintings aren't so much portraits as poems based on an intensely empathetic observation.
In addition to her portraits, Paul has made detailed studies of landscapes and interiors, again focussing on the environment she knows best. She has made numerous studies of her studio, and has also painted the central London landmarks visible from its windows, including the British Museum and the BT Tower (previously known as the Post Office Tower). The intimate scale of these works can be seen as a witty and deliberately feminine response to these iconic buildings.
For her first exhibition at Victoria Miro, Paul is showing a selection of her recent work, including a series of compelling self-portraits. These works are characterised by delicate, free brush-marks that contrast with the thick impasto of the artist's early work. This technique is evident in oil paintings and also in large-scale watercolours on paper mounted on canvas.
Paul's work is quiet, contemplative and ultimately moving in its profound attention to detail and deeply-felt spirituality. This quality has been described by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams: 'The whole point of Celia Paul's work is to break down the polarity between self-contemplation and the contemplation of the other - an other that opens out to that final otherness which religious people know as God'.
Paul was born in 1959 in Trivandrum, India to missionary parents. From 1976-81 she studied at the Slade School of Art, London where she was taught by Lucian Freud. She appears in a number of paintings by Freud including Naked Girl with Egg, 1980; Interior W11 (After Watteau), 1981-83; Girl in a Striped Night-Shirt, 1983-5; and Painter and Model, 1986-7. She has one son by Freud, Frank Paul, born in 1984.
Paul has had recent major solo exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2012-13); The Grave's Art Gallery, Sheffield (2005); Abbot Hall, Kendal (2004). She has also participated in group exhibitions include Self-Consciousness curated by Peter Doig and Hilton Als at VeneKlasen/Werner gallery, Berlin (2010); The School of London: Bacon to Bevan at Musée Maillol, Paris (1998) and British Figurative Painting of the 20th Century at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1992). Her work is in the collections of institutions including Abbot Hall, Kendal; British Museum, London; Carlsberg Foundation, Copenhagen; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Frissiras Museum, Athens; Metropolitan Museum, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; Herzog Ulrich Gallery, Brunswick, Germany; Ruth Borchard Collection; New Hall, Cambridge; Saatchi Collection, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Yale Center for British Art, Conneticut.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essay by Hilton Als.