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The Grey Gallery
Unit 4 Helmsley Place
07910 359 086
5th March - 26th April 2009 Open Thursday to Sunday, 11am - 6pm or by appointment
The Grey Gallery
Jock McFadyen studio show
Horse lamenting the invention of the motor car....
Large and small pictures from the 1980s to the present day
5th March - 26th April 2009
Open Thursday to Sunday 11am - 6pm or by appointment
The Grey Gallery
Unit 4, Helmsley Place
London E8 3SB
The nomadic Grey Gallery takes up residence at Jock McFadyen's London Fields studio for the next two exhibitions.
This exhibition shows a selection of early and late works from the last two decades. McFadyen is an artist who is sometimes associated with figurative painting of the 1980s. This has often irked the artist who, by the advent of that decade, had struggled to jettison the schematic figuration with which he made his name in the late 1970s.
It was during his residency at the National Gallery in 1981 that the artist resolved to make the observed world his subject rather than the witty conjectures with which he had emerged from Chelsea School of Art in 1977. The first pictures to emerge in the early eighties were populated by the waifs and strays of pre Canary Wharf London. McFadyen, like many others, was part of that diaspora of artists which had taken to the East End since the late sixties and he has always claimed that the figures in his work of that period were not inventions but sightings of individuals and events of the time. Horse Lamenting the invention of the motor car is typical of McFadyen’s work in the early eighties and retains some residue of caricature and wit which characterised his previous work . Throughout the decade, however, this element fell away to reveal a darker and more threatening portrait of the landscape of eighties London.
In 1991 McFadyen was commissioned by the Artistic Records Committee of The Imperial War Museum to record events surrounding the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Later the same year he was commissioned to design the set and costumes for Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s last ballet The Judas Tree at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It was at this point that the figure fell away from McFadyen's work. Full blown urban landscape, sometimes on a monumental scale, emerged and continues to preoccupy the artist to this day.
Jock McFadyen claims Sickert as well as Whistler and LS Lowry among painterly influences from the past, while German and American realist film from the 1970s as well as the contemporary novel are influences which are more significant to the artist than any from contemporary painting. During the 1990s McFadyen found a fellow traveller in the writer Iain Sinclair whose Downriver and Lights out for the territory mirrored the artist’s preoccupation with the eastern plains of the city and its estuary (Dagenham, Derrick, Showcase Cinemas, A13 Looking West). McFadyen had previously worked with the novelists Howard Jacobson and Will Self on prints and booklets and in 2001 Sinclair wrote Walking up walls to accompany Jock McFadyen’s solo exhibition at Agnews.
Exhibitions Jock McFadyen: The landscape with its clothes on, Small wonders, Small Pictures, Jock McFadyen: Kill Matthew Barney
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