Dubossarsky - Vinogradov
Stephen J. Shanabrook
Orel Art proudly presents Something To Declare, the first solo exhibition in Paris by the English artist Rupert Shrive.
The show explores the visible and invisible evolution of the creative process, taking us on a journey through the strata between an idea's inception and its eventual manifestation. With fractured primordial cosmic eggs hatching fragmented portrait heads, Shrive establishes poignant dialogues not just between the natural and the artificial, between order and chaos, but also between accepted tenets of contemporary beauty and their cultural interpretation.
Presenting a series of 20 recent works, based primarily on his technique of creation and destruction, here he explores the third part of the cycle: the renaissance.
If the theme of the resurrection is at the core of his work, the new pieces, like the chrysalises represented, discover their independence and with it a new identity.
By combining unexpected materials like eggs and nautilus shells, with compacted portraits reverse -painted on transparent acrylic (a complicated process of recording the final details first), as well as his heavily varnished, screwed up paintings on kraft paper; Shrive deploys an unusual formal lexicon in destroying his own work, a kind of 'post-painting', as a dramatic metaphor for the quandaries and uncertainties besetting the act of creation itself.
The paintings are crumpled and ripped, the art dangerously manipulated in a high-risk search for a fresh and vital visual language, a reinvention of the tradition of figurative painting. By subjecting his work to this destructive process, Shrive challenges comfortable notions of the value of art and the vanity of artists. Turning his paintings from bi-dimensional to tri-dimensional media, he effects an alchemy, converting painting into sculpture.
Shrive's work mirrors Cubism to some extent in breaking down a single viewpoint into different perspectives as opposed to bringing different viewpoints together as one, accentuated all the more by his use of broken shells revealing the struggling image as it ecloses from the chrysalis, presenting metamorphosis as a simile for the conception and realisation of an idea.
Shown here for the first time, Shrive reveals in these most recent works; the paradoxes and developments of his unique procedure.
Rupert Shrive lives and works in London and Paris. Born in Norfolk, in eastern England, in 1965, he studied at Norwich School of Art and Central St Martin's Collage of Art and Design in London. After extensive exhibitions in Spain during his eight years there, his first solo London show was at Zwemmers Gallery. For five years, Shrive had a studio above Soho's famous Coach and Horses pub, frequented by various iconic London writers and artists, including Francis Bacon, whom Shrive got to know.
Shrive cites Bacon as an influence, as well as Picasso and other Spanish painters, particularly El Greco, whose work he studied closely during his time in Spain. An article by Shrive, identifying the previously anonymous subject of El Greco's Man With His Hand On His Chest in the Prado in Madrid as a self-portrait was published in The Times during the National Gallery's El Greco show in London in 2004.
This Paris show follows several highly successful one-man exhibitions in London, Madrid, Milan and Hong Kong.
Yellow Geisha, 2008, acrylic and varnish on brown paper, 185 x 112 x 15 cm. Photo Alberto Ricci