Vigo is proud to present the work of Daniel Crews-Chubb and Johnny Abrahams at Independent Brussels 2018.
Daniel Crews-Chubb’s paintings combine powerful visual archetypes, familiar throughout human history; Gods, mythical characters, nudes, beasts, trees and chariots. The characters are rendered in his large-scale, mixed media works that typically incorporate drawing, collage and painting.
They embody a search for the authentic, the raw and the unrefined, and are subtly influenced by consumer culture, Modernist painting and the history of mark-making, from cave painting to expressionism and neo-expressionism.
His repetition of figurative motives becomes a vehicle for exploring the act of painting itself, utilising a repertoire of seemingly casual marks that are, in fact, worked and reworked to create hard won, layered paintings. He uses oils, acrylics, spray paint, sand, charcoal and pastel with abandon on rough, stretched and re-stretched canvases, that he often scrapes back and over-paints many times. Corrections are brutal, collaging further canvas and assorted material on top of past imagery to edit and proceed quickly retaining spontaneity in the development of his ideas.
Crews-Chubb’s employed methodology involves using his canvas structure like an ever-evolving collage both conceptually and physically, the architecture of which if dissected, would reveal numerous itineration’s, thoughts and actions that led to the final state of rest. If the artist dislikes or wants to change something it is covered with linen, clothing or whatever material is to hand, allowing him to adjust and proceed quickly. Thus, he is capable of making paintings that feel at once the product of their own layering and time worn history whilst remaining truly dynamic and gestural. So, whilst these works are ‘new’, they are also laced with both the history of their making and a patinated record of progress and recession. In this way, Crews-Chubb gives us something we crave - the new fresh and organic with a sense of time, history, patina and physical progress. This is combined with his ability to trigger displaced memory through reference to historical figurative parallels and abstracted homage to his inspiration both in terms of art and artefact.
His characters are introduced and reintroduced into the paintings, one feeding the next. Ancient gods and goddesses, mix with Yetis, and Belfie girls from Instagram, -abstracted yet realist, false yet real.
New York based artist, Johnny Abrahams, is well-respected for his exquisite attention to detail and erudite sense of balance and tension within his paintings.Abraham’s earlier optical works employed an intense additive pattern making strategy, which would act to stretch and unsettle the gaze. These were paintings full of the hustle bustle of the city his fresh oeuvre, he has succeeded in experimenting with an elegant rhythm, a fuller shape and a more formal, minimalist language. Interestingly these new paintings are derived from zooming in on the complicated patterns of these previous optical works, spotlighting fragments of these earlier illusions. By magnifying and subtracting pattern until a composition is rendered, Abrahams reveals an opportunity to celebrate the negative space both equally and simultaneously as a secondary image. The practice has gone from techno to contemplative. Appreciative of his own space, these meditative works more accurately reflect the artist’s natural character and speed whilst still satisfying his sense of meticulous work practice.
These slow, still, totemic- almost calligraphic forms fleet between their modernist simplicity and a subtle investigation into the effect of light on perception. The paint is applied with a palette knife, causing ridges to form, effecting the interplay between light and composition and inviting them tentatively in the realm between sculpture and painting. Abrahams is exhibiting works with hues of dark grey and dark blue, alongside those that he considers ‘beyond black’, slightly slowing and softening the speed at which we read the image. Whilst one cannot help being seduced by the implied movement and sculptural, almost architectural imposition of the composition, these paintings also operate on a subtler level, the softness of blurred reflection following one’s movement around the work in a quiet yet elegant fashion. Contemporary yet at the same time archaic and elemental these paintings satiate the desire for a calm contemplation whilst working on a primal visual level.
From the 15th of November, Johnny Abrahams will also have a solo exhibition at the Vigo Gallery, titled “I am the tortoise, but also the cat and the dog’.