Andrew Bick, Basil Beattie, Prunella Clough,
Julia Farrer, James Fisher, Dan Roach
7 September – 1 October 2016
In 1991, when the Eagle Gallery first opened, the prevailing critical tendency was to claim that painting was dead. Abstraction, in particular, seemed relegated to an allowable series of process-led tropes. For contemporary British artists, and those who work with them, it was a necessary wake-up call. Artists work things out by making work, responsive both to past and present. The most interesting tend to follow their own path, often against the tide.
Stravinsky once said: ‘The one true comment on a piece of music is another piece of music’. In an age now of almost continuous sampling, the theoretical distinctions of twenty-five years ago have more or less evaporated.
So we beat on … presents the work of six abstract painters who have been associated with the Eagle Gallery for many years. In each case, their work illustrates an individual approach to abstraction – one that has been arrived at through deep thought, experiment and rigour.
Prunella Clough was an early supporter of the Gallery – lending heft to an exhibition programme of mainly younger artists, by showing her work in group exhibitions throughout the 1990s. Basil Beattie was the first established artist to be invited to use the space experimentally, and in 1991 made Drawing on the Interior –- a seminal installation of drawings that led to changes in his own work, and to a number of exhibitions of his paintings in association with the Gallery. Andrew Bick held a solo exhibition at the Eagle in 1998 (in collaboration with Hales Gallery) and has published two artist’s books with the Gallery’s EMH Arts imprint. Julia Farrer has held three solo exhibitions at the Gallery since 2000, and has collaborated with the EMH Arts imprint to publish prints and book works that are held in collections including Yale Centre for British Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. James Fisher and Dan Roach joined the Eagle Gallery as younger artists, and have both gained critical attention for the quality of their painting. Fisher’s work has been acquired by collections including Fidelity and the Jerwood Foundation, and Roach was selected for the inaugural Abstract Critical Awards in 2012, and the Marmite Painting Prize in 2013.
Reviewed in The Week, 17 September 2016