Anthony Whishaw RA to open new exhibition at Canwood Gallery along with those of his late wife Jean Gibson and her pupil, the French sculptor and former fashion designer Nicole Farhi
Experiences of Nature: Anthony Whishaw RA
Canwood Gallery, Checkley, Near Hereford, HR1 4NF
1 – 29 July 2018
Tuesday to Sunday 11am – 4pm. Free entry
One of the UK’s most accomplished painters, whose work is on permanent display in London’s Tate gallery, will exhibit his paintings in Herefordshire’s acclaimed contemporary art gallery this summer, alongside work by French sculptor and former fashion designer Nicole Farhi.
Royal Academy member Anthony Whishaw’s Experiences of Nature exhibition includes several works which have never before been displayed and will be on show throughout July (1-29 July 2018). The exhibition will be the first time the four works by Nicole Farhi, which includes a self portrait in sculpture, have been shown outside London.
Both Anthony Whishaw and Nicole Farhi will open the exhibition in person with a private view on Sunday 1 July (12-3pm).
The exhibition examines Whishaw’s fascination with the natural environment and draws from a body of work painted over the last 40 years. It has been specially curated for Canwood Gallery in stunning rural surroundings that make an ideal backdrop to display art inspired by nature.
The show will also include a group of works by his late wife, Jean Gibson (1927-1991) and Nicole Farhi, who was taught by Jean Gibson in the studio where Whishaw still works.
Anthony Whishaw has been producing challenging, thought-provoking painting for well over 60 years, calling on the viewer to interpret his warping and skewing of space and form and exploring unusual visual languages and issues of memory and experience. He often works on his paintings over a period of many years, making alterations and additions as he lives with the canvasses.
Claiming no association with any particular movement, Whishaw fiercely guards his artistic independence, stating that “each painting and work on paper makes its own separate demands.”
Nicola Farhi received weekly lessons from Jean Gibson in her London studio and went on to become a firm family friend. She walked away from a hugely successful fashion career to concentrate full-time on her sculpture work more than six years ago.
Farhi is showing four works in the Experiences of Nature exhibition including two pieces entitled Pure Force representing her interpretation of herself as a force of nature. The accompanying sculptures depict the hands of fellow artists, one of Anthony Whishaw himself and the other of Scottish sculptor and pioneer of pop art Eduardo Paolozzi, who became her mentor.
These works will be complemented by those of her teacher Jean Gibson whose late work has been described as ‘organic minimalism’ and ‘the contrast between strength and fragility, purity and sensuousness.’ Equally inspired by the natural environment, Gibson’s work verges on the abstract and focusses on elements, force and energy. It is known for being physically demanding to produce, created from dense and hard materials.
Speaking of her tutor and friend, Jean Gibson, Nicole Farhi says:
“Jean changed my life. Through her teaching, I learned more than expressing ideas and feelings. She opened my eyes on the world around me, as if I was seeing it for the first time, and so helped me to discover who I was. Above everything, she taught me always to be true to myself, to be sincere, humble, and at peace.”
At the age of 88, Anthony Whishaw continues to paint daily and is working towards a number of exhibitions to celebrate his 90thbirthday in 2020.
One of Whishaw’s major works, Corrida (1955-56), is on permanent display at the Tate, London. Depicting a crowd at a Spanish bullfight, it hangs in a room of British art from the 1950s. Whishaw’s work is shown in many prestigious international collections and galleries including the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia and Seattle Museum of art, USA.
Speaking ahead of the Experiences of Natureexhibition at Canwood Gallery, he said:
“I am very pleased to be having this exhibition at the Canwood Gallery, which has such wonderful space to show some of my larger works. For decades I have immersed myself in the English countryside in Kent from where much of my inspiration arises and have I also enjoyed spending a lot of time with friends in Herefordshire.
“My work experiments with memory and experiences of nature, painting the intersection of forms and playing with the viewer’s spatial awareness. This could be through observing the patterns created by the interplay and overlay of tree branches, twigs and trunks to the constantly changing surface patterns of water. I find nature provides me with a never-ending source of fascination.
“Alongside the exhibition of my paintings I am delighted that in the upstairs gallery at Canwood there will be a group of works by Jean Gibson, my late wife, who was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy of Arts and a member of the London Group and whose works deserve to be better known today than they are. Jean was also an inspirational teacher and one of her pupils, who has since become an old family friend, Nicole Farhi will also be showing her works.”
Canwood Gallery is already home to the work of world-famous artists including Carl Andre, Barbara Hepworth, Tomokazu Matsuyama and Blake Daniels. It was set up by retired local farmer Stephen Dale who realised a life-long ambition to bring world-renowned art to rural audiences, following his own discovery of contemporary art whilst being treated for cancer in London in the 70s.