21st March - 27th April 2019
Formations:
Ellsworth Kelly, Albert Irvin RA, Oliver Doe & Josh Raz

In Formations, two giants of 20th Century abstract painting, Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015) and Albert Irvin (1922-2015), collide with the work of young Newcastle-based painters Oliver Doe and Josh Raz in an exciting trans-historical exhibition that will explore how we see the modern world through painting and printmaking. It will also explore the influence of modernism on contemporary art, and how elusive views of our world can be rendered through bold colour and dynamic forms.

 
 

Ellsworth Kelly’s paintings and prints reduced the hues and shapes discerned from the world around him – in leaves, shadows, landscapes, and even litter – into broad, curving planes of bold colour. Often said to have developed from his time as a camouflage artist in France during WWII, his perception of subtle yet exciting forms within nature was unparalleled, his works bringing about a sense of awe and a vibrancy that totally engulfs the viewer.

Greatly influenced by Kelly, Oliver Doe seeks to distil an experience of life into reduced formations of colour and organic line. Considering the lack of visibility of LGBT people and bodies in mainstream visual culture, Doe refines intertwining yet unidentified bodily forms into contrasting panes of colour, in which positive and negative space become confused, clashing against each other.

 
 

Albert Irvin OBE RA was best known for his exuberant paintings, watercolours and gouaches that reinvigorated painting in Britain in the 70s and 80s. His works exude an absolute joyfulness, both in their riotous colours and the energy of their marks. Like Kelly, his service during the war as an RAF navigator, is said to be a great influence on his work, with the paintings’ criss-crossing grids of sweeping, fluid lines often linked to the aerial views of the landscape he would see.

Whilst Josh Raz’s work is more rooted in the figurative, the land his figures inhibit is otherworldly, with twisting geometric patterns and warped perspective, seeming to recall Irvin’s landscape-based approach to abstraction. His unique way of seeing weaves between the real and imagined, resulting in stage-like vistas into an uncanny parallel world.

These four artists, whilst operating in quite different ways, come together in a riot of colour that celebrates the world around us. The interplay amongst ideas between two different generations of artists provides a fascinating insight into the artist’s eye.


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Images:
Ellsworth Kelly, Orange & Green, Lithograph, 1964 (Image © Maeght Editions)
Albert Irvin, Avenue, Gouache on paper, 1987
(Image © Gimpel Fils)
Oliver Doe, What part of my tongue have I not given?, Oil on canvas, 2019 (Image © the artist)
Josh Raz, Folie à Deux, Oil on canvas, 2019
(Image © the artist)


All works are available for sale