John Hubbard: The Moroccan Paintings
14 February - 22 March 2015
For John Hubbard's latest exhibition in the Gallery at Roche Court, we have selected a group of paintings the artist made following a number of trips to Morocco beginning in 1969. Having settled in Britain in the 1960s, the American-born Hubbard had already established a reputation for work which combined the influence of abstract expressionism with the traditions of English landscape painting. Looking for a fresh perspective and the antithesis of the Dorset and Cornish countryside he had previously portrayed, Hubbard spent a year drawing - but not painting - the kind of landscape he imagined he would find in Morocco. As exercises in colour, these drawings expanded Hubbard's range but also proved prescient of what he actually discovered once he was able to trek and draw around Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains.
The numerous drawings Hubbard made in situ later became a series of paintings which portray aspects of the landscape he found in Morocco. They capture the ruggedness of rocks and caves, the quality of the light and atmosphere as one might expect, but they also contain flashes of colour from more unexpected sources: the quantities of minerals - particularly amethysts - then prevalent everywhere, the surprising flowering of wild tulips after heavy rains or clothes being washed in mountain streams by Moroccan Berbers. The results reveal a radical departure in Hubbard's technique with a use of small brushstrokes, a taut texture and a more vivid palette. Together the paintings evoke Hubbard's unique sense of place, of course, however the sheer power and majesty of nature is intensified with magical and mysterious qualities, something Iris Murdoch described as an almost religious effect. Certainly Hubbard feels these particular paintings convey something of the transcendental, if not spiritual experience, he felt in the mountains of Morocco.
John Hubbard was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut (USA). He studied at Harvard University and at the Art Students League in New York and with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Mass. Hubbard lived in Rome for two years before settling in Dorset in 1961, the year in which he also had his first exhibition with the New Art Centre. John Hubbard's work is in major public and private collections around the world including the Yale Center for British Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Victoria and in the UK in Tate; the Arts Council Collection; British Council; the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; Victoria and Albert Museum; the Ashmolean Museum and Pallant House. His solo exhibitions include the Fitzwilliam Museum; Waddesdon Manor; Modern Art, Oxford; the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham amongst many others and a show of twenty-five years of drawings at Kew Gardens. Some of the Moroccan paintings, including the Cave Series, were first shown at The Serpentine Gallery in 1973.
For further works by John Hubbard please click here.
John Pfahl: Métamorphoses de la Terre
14 February - 22 March 2015
The inspiration for the 'Métamorphoses' photographs by John Pfahl, came whilst he was reviewing pictures of lava formations he had taken in Hawaii in 1993 but had never printed. The flow-patterns in the hard basalt landscapes prompted him to experiment with his computer to simulate accelerated geological forces of nature. What was formerly liquid and then solidified, through his ministrations, appeared like liquid once more.
Pfahl went on to review some thirty years' worth of negatives and transparencies made intermittently while working on other projects in the deserts of the American Southwest. Many of the landscapes photographed were formed over long periods of time by the forces of nature. Multiple layers of limestone, sandstone and mudstone deposited by vast inland seas over the millennia were sculpted by wind and water into an aggregation of different shapes, textures and colours. Pfahl has then digitally altered the images, manipulating and enhancing the natural lay of the land.
Pfahl was born in New York in 1939. His work is in numerous collections throughout the USA and has exhibited widely, most recently at The Speed Art Museum, Louisville. This is his first solo exhibition in the UK.
For further works by John Pfahl please click here.
Johannes Nagel: Vessels, perhaps
14 February - 22 March 2015
The New Art Centre is delighted to announce Johannes Nagel's first solo exhibition in the Artists House. It will include ceramics from his 'Improvisorium' series and the 'NEW JAZZ/Isolator Series'. Nagel last showed at Roche Court in 2014 in the Design Show curated by Sarah Griffin. She describes perfectly the experimental nature of Nagel's ceramics: 'Nagel reverses the axiom that form has to follow function, letting spontaneity and inaccuracy of method determine the outcome of each pot'. The title of Nagel's current exhibition also sums up the improvised and experimental nature of his approach. It is taken from an article by another potter he admires greatly, Edmund de Waal, who wrote in the journal Think Tank 01 (2004) about a pot which defied a museum curator's attempts to describe it and the potential poetry of objects which such resist categorisation:
'It is a moment caught between pathos (the curator struggling to define an object) and insight (how can we list the objects in our lives?). It seems apposite for those of us who are attempting to find languages in which to talk about objects: how do we move from the unknown into the known. And how do we keep the 'perhaps' alive...?'
Of his own work, Johannes Nagel has written:
'The subject of my work specifically is the improvised and provisional. The objects are finished in that the porcelain is painted (glazed) and fired. Most objects are somehow vessels, pots. What else are they? The attempt to confuse the connotations that technology and material provoke. At times constructive composing, at times wilful destruction, sometimes vases, sometimes fragments or alienated objects. Improvised are the handling of the material and the methods of creating volume and shape - sawed, dug out, stacked, found or painted on. The joints and fissures, the blots of colour and unfinished painting appear provisional as they point from the finished object to the instant of making. It is not the perfection of the ultimate expression that is intended but to verbalize a concept of the evolution of things.
What sort of a function do vessels have today? What may they contain? I hardly ever thought of flowers.'
For further works by Johannes Nagel please click here.