Pippy Houldsworth is delighted to announce the gallery's move to new premises at 6 Heddon Street, London W1, to open on 12 October 2011, designed by Simon Dance Design. Affirming the mission of the gallery to present the most relevant and influential national and international artists working today, the inaugural exhibition, Continuum, brings together seven seminal painting by Clem Crosby.
Clem Crosby emerged with a generation of artists including Jessica Stockholder, Phyllida Barlow and Ross Bleckner, for whom both a human and a philosophical relationship with materials became a means through which to value the gesture in artmaking. For Crosby, the painted gesture brings together line and form in a way that imposes control and at the same time locates a kind of freedom for the resulting image. The process of drawing within the work pushes the paint into an unknown and ultimately impossible place, where representation and ideas become redundant, and a new, non-representational space is created.
Continuum brings together seven large scale works by Crosby that raise important and relevant questions about painting today. These reflections are posed in and through the medium itself, and developed out of a longstanding series of monochrome pieces on formica made throughout the 1990s and until 2006. The last of these was a huge-scale public commission, 180 Monochromes, which forms the glowing façade of the Young Vic Theatre, London (2004-2006). The works presented here create a new kind of formal and theatrical resonance.
In an increasingly visual culture in which the mediation of images is ever more in question, Crosby’s paintings are a testimony to the complex process of creating and receiving an image. The paintings are monumental objects that contain infinite detail and a sense of history through a build up of brush marks and wiped surfaces. Drawn both inwards and outwards by the pictorial and architectural elements of the paintings, the viewer is invited to engage in the act of balancing a reading of the part against the whole.
Within the visual spectacle of Crosby’s paintings, the viewer is reminded of the artist's own process and engagement with the possibility of painting as it walks the tight rope between facilitating and collapsing an image. In Wrecks (2006) and Braided Vines Fall (2010), there is a sense that the paint has been pushed and tested into an organic shape, with worked and reworked surfaces becoming both visible and contingent. This visibly edited scene opens up broad pictorial readings of each of the works presented here. Within Craven (2007), a surreal dimension is adopted, where the sharply wiped or ‘dodged’ surfaces allow an astonishing proliferation of filmic associations. Upon closer inspection, the viewer is invited to witness a host of desolate landscapes or flickers of Surrealist scenes, emerging silently between luscious washed vistas of violet and jet black.
Clem Crosby lives and works in London, and is a member of the faculty at Central St Martins College of Art & Design. Recent exhibitions include Profusion, Beacon Art Project, Calke Abbey, Derbyshire, BlitzkreigBop! and Walls Have Ears at Man&Eve, London; New Paintings at Gallery Weinberger in Copenhagen and the Tate Britain Drawing Symposium/Exhibition. His large-scale commission for The Young Vic Theatre in London, 180 Monochrome Paintings, was installed on the exterior of the theatre in 2006 as part of a major architectural renovation, which received the 2007 RIBA award. His work is included in the exhibition catalogues BlitzkriegBop!, Vivid: British and American Abstract Art; Fact and Value-New Positions in Painting and Sculpture. A review of Crosby's recent paintings by Barry Schwabsky can be seen in ArtForum, September 2011.