Dreams of Here: New work by Julian Bell, Tom Hammick and Andrzej Jackowski at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery from 18 February
Julian Bell, He Climbs the Stairs, 2011 (c) Julian Bell
A beautiful exhibition of new work by three contemporary painters and printmakers who are all nationally recognised but at the same time have strong connections to Sussex.
Bell, Hammick and Jackowski each paint and draw figurative images, yet their contributions are markedly distinct. Brought together, the work of these painters follows the course of a journey from a land of literal description, through the layered subtleties of sensual perception into the buried landscapes of our subconscious worlds. In Dreams of Here, the here ranges from the Sussex landscape to inner worlds and regions, from colours that sing out to echoing empty spaces.
Julian Bell, the most directly representational of the artists in this show, brings the eye of a traditional realist painter to his contemporary surroundings, taking as his subject the sort of ordinary objects and everyday narratives that most artists overlook. He is a painter who finds interest in anything from a rubbish tip to a rock concert to a family browsing a magazine rack.
Tom Hammick, Cabin 2011 oil on linen (c) Tom Hammick
Tom Hammick uses landscape as his starting point, but a landscape shaped by memories and dreams. He too engages with modern-day life. His works might conjure a lost rural simplicity – images of lonely star gazers and huts deep in woods – but he can equally incorporate the clutter of the contemporary into his vision: anything from power-lines and camper vans to goal posts or geodesic domes. An accomplished colourist, he creates images that fall in bright patterns.
Andrzej Jackowski an image from the series The Voyage 2011. Photo (c) Leigh Simpson.
Andrzej Jackowski’s sense of place is not rooted in any external landscape. His work draws the spectator slowly into shadowy inner spaces, towards memory and dream. His contribution to this show is a one-off installation of 60 unframed drawings pinned directly to the gallery walls. This series, The Voyage, is a bit like the storyboards for a film, except these stills are as much about depth as they are about sequence. Jackowski opens a space within the mind of the spectator, inviting viewers to participate in a mythic narrative. The exhibition brings out connections and differences in the work of these three artists, in each of Brighton Museum’s three interconnected temporary exhibition galleries. Julian Bell has described the artists’ common interests:
“I see what unites the three of us as, most generally, a belief in painting as a space for reflection, a space for giving substance to our sense of how life is shaped.
Each of us paints fundamentally from emotion, from a wish to sing out and to symbolize what you might call ‘poetic’. This goes with a faith in our media (oil paint, pastels, pencils…) as instruments with their own distinctive transformative qualities.”
An accompanying publication, Dreams of Here, with an essay by Rachel Campbell-Johnston is being published by the University of Brighton and the artists’ London galleries, Eagle Gallery, Francis Kyle Gallery and Purdy Hicks Gallery, with support from the Arts Council of England.
Thanks to the generous support of Arts Council funding, the exhibition will include specially commissioned films of the three artists discussing their inspiration and creative processes.
Stephanie Allen, Visual Arts Relationship Manager, Arts Council England says,
“It’s great see contemporary high quality visual arts exhibitions such as Brighton Museums & Art Gallery’s exhibition Dreams of Here supported through our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts programme. We’re particularly pleased to see the museum working in partnership with organisations such as University of Brighton and individual artists to get more people engaged in the arts.”
Exhibition dates: 8 February to 10 June 2012
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Entrance in Royal Pavilion Gardens,
Brighton BN1 1EE
Tel: 03000 290900
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Closed 23 to 27 April 2012 for essential maintenance