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Stuart Semple, Roni Stretch & Antoinette Wysocki Group show
Mead Carney Fine Art
45 Dover Street
London, W1S 4FF
7–16 March 2013
Celebrated British artist and curator, Stuart Semple, exhibits alongside two important US painters, Roni Stretch and Antoinette Wysocki, both showing work in London for the first time.
Roberta Moore Contemporary presents this group show, unifying three distinctive styles of painting and print technique; merging cultural influences from the UK and US. The exhibition is at Mead Carney Fine Art, 45 Dover Street, 7 – 16 March 2013.
Roni Stretch presents a series of eloquent and stylistic portraits and figurative paintings, alongside selected works from the Roma Series, in this first UK showing. Stretch has paintings held in public collections in the US and Europe and over 200 works in private collections worldwide. The artist’s unique interpretation and exquisite style has captured the attention of myriad public figures, leading to portraiture commissions by such names as actor Robert Downey Jr. and director and producer Oliver Stone. For Stretch, each portrait is a lesson in contradictions, photo-realism and abstraction; reality and altered states. Roni explained:
Portraiture, by definition, is the recording of an individual’s appearance and personality; I don’t want to do that. The face for me is a vehicle or entrance into the work. I am more interested in the reuniting of the non-objective and the objective and I look for the tension between the two.
Stretch has pioneered the Dichromatic Process; oil paintings are meticulously created by executing a layering process where two colours are alternately applied and built-up over a series of weeks. The image is not so much painted over as optically embedded within the multiple layers of the alternating colours. The subjects play against a sharply lined border intended to ground each painting in the physical. In the Roma Series his works take a different direction, stripping back the development process to the forgotten beginning, to the simplicity of idea.
Donal Kuspit, art critic and author of The End of Art has said:
My first response to Roni Stretch’s paintings was how extraordinarily exquisite and how original. I know of nothing quite like them in the history of modern, let alone traditional art – an ingenious, convincing integration of colour field painting, minimalist structure and photorealist portraiture.
This is the first UK showing of Fated To Pretend, one of only a handful of large-scale paintings made by Stuart Semple in recent years. Exhibited originally in Hong Kong, it received controversial reactions. Recently, Semple’s paintings have explored the moment in childhood where innocence turns to aggression. Fated to Pretend seeks to understand how, through play, children mimic their surroundings, whether a stick becomes a magic wand – or a gun. A theme that is poignant at a time when we are confronted with rioting, protests and civil unrest. The gap between those who fit in and those that don’t, the haves and have nots is a widening chasm and a turbulent one. In this painting the turbulence is portrayed through the physical application of paint.
Alongside Fated to Pretend – Semple will present a series of print works which continue the dialogue with materials, iconography and fabrication. Previously focused on cultural icons - Debbie Harry and Nicki Minaj - Semple now introduces images of David Bowie to the series – which he presents, here, for the first time. Stuart Semple explained:
These new pieces experiment with self illuminating acrylic and state-of-the-art digital printing techniques, and merging those with the aesthetic from printmaking’s golden age, which for me, was the Warhol era of screenprint.
Antoinette Wysocki, a native New Yorker, brings her most recent series of works to London, highlighting her extraordinary form of expressionist painting with works like: Warm Impermanence and DisOriental. Wysocki has exhibited widely in galleries in San Francisco, New York, Sacramento, New Mexico and Hong Kong. This series of paintings reflects on the Buddhist’s beliefs of ‘Impermanence’ where nothing on this earth is ever free. Imagery of a skull and the lotus can be found throughout; repetitive shapes flow, recalling textiles and urban landscapes, with a nod to the elaborate tradition of the rambling English garden. The pieces are a story, identified through symbol and forms: a tiny bird, a diary of text, a secret, a dialogue; within the works a reassurance to the participant, a phrase simply summarized: ‘OK to Wish Here’. A response, also, to London’s painted grey skies; images investigate the most saturated colours, softening their existence through the interplay of brush stroke and detail of form. Controlled flat black lines give way to drips from action painting, making for movement in each piece. Antoinette Wysocki described her practice:
Painting is my portal, my proverbial rabbit hole. Through it I strive to create pathways for eyes to follow and flow through, discovering treasure within the canvas as it reveals its ghostly images.