Luke Elwes: Reflection 2015

 Luke Elwes: Reflection    Campden Gallery UK    10 October - 1 November 2015

Luke Elwes: Reflection    Campden Gallery UK    10 October - 1 November 2015

In his recent work Luke Elwes conjures up a particular space where land and water meet, where the shifting light radiates through a tree line or across coastal marshland and where the tides move back and forth through a delicate maze of creeks and channels. They reveal chance encounters with a myriad of visual stimuli: passing birds, rolling mist, scattered flora, wind blown leaves or drifting shapes, floating on, reflected in, the passing streams.

They are a fragile record of process and time, the uncertain result of a particular moment of elemental engagement, made without correction in one sitting. The location varies - sometimes close to home, sometimes in remote locations - and provides just a beginning, a way of collecting particles of colour and light, and a way of observing the play of prevailing conditions on a surface which, once it is scattered with incidental markings and stained with coloured pigment and organic matter, is then allowed to become saturated by the surrounding waters. And each time the resulting image belongs as much to the elements as to the artist who began it.

Albers Foundation April 2015

The Albers Foundation in Connecticut USA, founded in 1971, is devoted to preserving and promoting the enduring achievements of Josef and Anni Albers, and the aesthetic and philosophical principles by which they lived.

'The Foundation maintains residence studios for select visiting artists exemplifying the seriousness of purpose that characterized both Anni and Josef Albers. No aesthetic connection to the Alberses' work is necessary; only the intention to work in a concentrated way on one's art in idyllic conditions at a remove from the art world'.

During April and May 2015 I have been invited to work in one of the Foundation's studios, where previous British artists in residence have included Ian McKeever, Michael Porter, Rebecca Salter and Ian Davenport.

VITAL SIGNS: work on paper by 12 London artists

9 March - 24 April 2015, Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JJ

Tony Bevan,  Christopher Le Brun, Luke Elwes, Timothy Hyman, Andrzej Jackowski, Merlin James, Glenys Johnson, Alex Lowery, Lino Mannocci, Thomas Newbolt, Arturo Di Stefano, Charlotte Verity. 

Vital signs presents an important opportunity to reflect on the intimate relationship these artists have with paper, whether working directly into it by hand or impressing an image onto its surface Through the differing approach of each of these 12 London based artists we can see not only their visual thought processes at work, but also some of the ways in which themes and ideas common to their more familiar practice as painters are explored and refined on paper. There will be a catalogue edited by Luke Elwes & the exhibition transfers to Museum & gallery venues in Italy (Alba, Turin, Pisa, Bergamo) during 2015 and 2016.

Colchester exhibition September 2014

Since the beginning of this year I have been working for extended periods on the East Anglian coast, producing a new series of paintings on paper for the exhibition at The Minories Gallery, organized as part of the official program for  the 2014 Roman River Festival in Colchester.

A new journal called Est will be published by the Dunlin Press during the autumn to coincide with this event. Designed as  a collection of contemporary fiction, non-fiction and psychogeography from and about East Anglia, it will include an extensive interview with the artist about his ideas and practice.

These recent images of the artist at work form part of the photographic record of this project . Further details here

Bridget Riley and Piet Mondrian

 Bridget Riley , Prairie , 2003/1971

Bridget Riley, Prairie, 2003/1971

Over the summer there is a rare chance to see the work of Bridget Riley and Piet Mondrian in two concentrated surveys that selectively explore their respective preoccupations with grids and stripes, as well as revealing the debt owed to one by the other. (Riley, it should be remembered, co-curated the Mondrian show at the Tate in 1996.)

Mondrian seemed (according to the curators' narrative at Turner Contemporary) to move away by stages from representing what he saw - a homeland of flat fields and sky, occasionally interrupted by vertical willow branches - towards a reductive language of line and colour built from the primary components (as he saw it) that constitute the visual field.

 Piet Mondrian  Composition with Grid 8  1919

Piet Mondrian Composition with Grid 8 1919

Riley meanwhile has steadily moved over the course of fifty years from purely optical surface arrangements in black and white back towards a more variegated and sensual engagement with the natural world of light and color. The hard white stripes of her work from the early 1960s steadily soften over time into panels of air and light, rhythmically punctuating the finely calibrated bands of colored pigment in ways that variously distil the sensation of bright heat or a cool morning (in Rise, Late Morning and Apres Midi for example).

 Bridget Rilet,  Apres Midi  1981

Bridget Rilet, Apres Midi 1981

The diagonal bands in her largest piece here, Prairie (above), read like an aerial view of an endless expanse of cultivated ground, echoing the moment when Mondrian finally freed himself from the horizon to move over the chequer board pattern of fields beneath and which would eventually allow his spare colour grids to float free of their representative beginnings. But what both painters share above all, beyond the formal rigor of their work, and despite the differing trajectory of their journeys over time, is a closeness to the experience of nature, what Riley describes as “the dynamism of visual forces - an event rather than an appearance”

Bridget Riley The Stripe Paintings 1961 – 2014  David Zwirner Gallery London 13 June – 25 July 2014

Mondrian and Colour, Turner Contemporay Margate (UK) 24 May 2014 - 21 September 2014

Abstract critical June 2014

From the June newsletter of   Read the full article here

Modernism and whatever it is that has followed it is distinction that occupies Luke Elwes as he reviews two surveys of works on paper by Phyllida Barlow and Richard Smith, on at Hauser & Wirth and Flowers respectively. Each exhibition presents a clear narrative. Smith is shown belonging to a ‘respectable abstract modernist past’, where ‘formally consistent and visible progress [is] marked by serial production’. Conversely Barlow’s career is positioned as ‘one of a personal odyssey, unburdened by critical attention, that is largely intuitive and unresolved [and heading toward] a vibrant post-modern present’. Elwes is particularly interesting on the distinction between Smith’s elegant investigation of the picture plane and Barlow’s lack of interest in it.

 Phyllida Barlow  Fifty Years of Drawings at Hauser & Wirth Gallery London 23 May – 26 July 2014

Phyllida Barlow  Fifty Years of Drawings at Hauser & Wirth Gallery London 23 May – 26 July 2014