The figure, with all the life that it presents, is part of all of us. It is part of our humanity and understanding of our world; the oldest form of art, embedded in the humanity shared aesthetic and understanding of the world.
Figurative painters have faced challenges over time - from the invention of photography that deeply changed the perception and the purpose of art, to the use of digital manipulation and algorithms today.
Nonetheless, figurative art has never ceased to exist. It survives every revolution and continues to portray what is recognisable. Jeffrey Deitch, former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles puts it pertinently when he says: “This is not a time when a ponderous Mark Rothko painting about myth is relevant. (…) figurative painting allows for more-diverse cultural content—clothing, skin color, setting—than abstraction ever can.”
Daniel Benjamin Gallery has selected 12 international figurative artists for this exhibition. They are all recent graduates or currently studying in London. There is a gamut of themes on display, owing to the diverse backgrounds of the artists. Nine countries, five continents, age differences and a range of art schools mean that their practices have been influenced by a scope of different experiences. Memories, masculinity, gender, materiality, political issues, identity and solitude are some of the universal topics explored in distinct ways.
Figurative NOW. marks the first of a series of shows at Daniel Benjamin Gallery, where timeous yet classic themes and techniques will be explored through group exhibitions of promising young artists.