After the excitement of celebrating Christmas and the start of 2015, make a space in your diary for Plus One Gallery’s first exhibition of the year! In our Winter Show this February we will be showing new paintings and sculptures, from old favourites to new artists.
If Craig Wylie new painting has to be described in one word, it would probably be ‘phenomenal’. Shortlisted for last year’s renowned Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) The Threadneedle Prize “Figurative Art Today”. It depicts a life-size nude, beautifully draped by dramatic swathes of grey cloth. What is most intriguing about this painting is the mix between the classical and the contemporary. Wylie’s sharp eye for detail recalls that of the Flemish masters, while his sense of composition and balance is just like that in a Raphael painting. And yet the spectacular starkness of the fabric, which veers to the point of abstraction, means that this painting is also resolutely contemporary.
As John Russell Taylor comments; “Wylie is not an adept copyist, mechanically reproducing a single photograph, but an artist who thinks deeply and effectively about his art” - and it is this, which has made Wylie an internationally recognised artist and a former BP Portrait Award winner.
While painted with the same superb level of detail, Francois Chartier’s new paintings present a very different mood indeed, they are amongst some of the most festive that Plus One Gallery will have on show this February. Twists of paint glisten like the frosting on a Christmas cake, thereby transforming the artist’s palette into an en-chanting scene of light. It is telling that one of the titles is “Full Moon in the Studio” as this evokes the brilliant pureness of moonlight: and from the vibrant reds to the buttery golds, these paintings epitomise light and colour.
Fruit is something that we often consume without a second thought; yet in Antonio Castelló’s gigantic grapes, it is turned quite literally into breath, taking works of art.
Plus One Gallery’s new selection of Castello’s canvases depict bunches of grapes, tangibly bursting with ripeness. From the exquisitely painted mistiness of the grape’s skin, to the roughness of the branch, these are paintings which (especially when you stand in front of them) are extremely powerful. Yet these paintings are also thought provoking because in them, the fragile transience of food has been frozen into a perpetual state of ripeness. Is this a comment on the beauty of everyday things or is it a symbol for the brevity of life? What is clear is that these lavish paintings are memorable in many ways.
Philip Harris is arguably one of the most important hyperrealist portrait artists of our generation. His work- predominantly landscapes and portraits- have a psychological intensity which is compelling, and which masterfully draws the viewer into the scene. This can be seen in one of his new works “Four Pirates”. In it, four figures are shown grinning from ear to ear, each wearing a rather ridiculous pink paper hat. They look directly at us, the viewer, as if we just caught their eye thereby transforming us into part of the scene. And yet, this painting also provokes many questions: why are they outside, at night? What were they doing before they were captured in this moment? There are no ready answers, with Harris’s beautifully intense brushwork concealing as much as it reveals.
Harris’s ‘Storm Dog’ paintings are different in subject matter, but no less mysterious in effect. They depict sinewy greyhounds racing at full speed on an empty beach: a razor-sharp horizon cutting through the gigantic billowing pink clouds. The keen atmosphere of a tangible isolation- almost tipping towards surrealism- is something that has been tackled in many key modernist works of art.
In spite of being a realist artist, Javier Banegas suggests much more than he relates. He evokes more than he specifies. He tells more about what he hides than about what he shows. As a result, a `human dehumanization´ takes place in his work. It is difficult to find people represented in his paintings, but despite this fact, his repeated main characters are the passing of time and the human mark.
The intimacy and the veneration of the mentioned object in Banegas paintings inspire and seduces to the most extreme point. Hyperrealist painting is sometimes accused of being excessively explicit. However, in this sense, Javier’s work turns out more suggestive than narrative.
Caroline d’Andlau’s work is perhaps a skilful contradiction: bronze is an extremely heavy material, and yet her sculptures are decidedly light and airy. This is particularly so of d’Andlau’s bronzes which depict long-limbed African Massai warriors, a subject that has proved to be extremely popular and of which previous work is already in many key collections around the world. Her new works depict standing figures displaying a poise that any dancer would be proud of, or sitting gracefully on the sweeping branch of a tree: the rhythmic, elongated lines of the figures recalling that of various 20th century masters in bronze such as Alberto Giacometti. Overall, what d’Andlau’s sculptures do is to distil the fluid movement of the human body into elegant works of art.