28 Nov Small is Beautiful at Flowers Gallery 2023
So this is very exciting and something I am really happy to be part of, the 41st Edition of Small is Beautiful at Flowers Gallery, London. The gallery is based on Cork St, right in the heart of London’s iconic art district. Originally, Flowers first opened its doors on Lisle St in 1970. Over the years, some of the most influential names in art have shown with Flowers, the very fact that Joseph Beuys (an absolute icon to me) has shown with Flowers and created work for a postcard show tells me the calibre of art that Flowers has shown over the years makes it a leading light in todays contemporary art scene. The gallery on Cork St has been home to Flowers since 2000.
I had originally shown with Flowers Gallery last year as part of the Hidden UK Hidden Ireland show curated by Sean Scully at Flowers East on Kingsland Road, East London. with a group of 20 artists, some of whom I had not heard of before or was familiar with their work and style.
Creating the artworks
For this show, I had to achieve certain things within parameters. I had looked over some of the past collections to get an Idea of what other artists had worked on previously. The art has to be 23-18cm in size, so capturing a moment of fire onto the steel burning the art at 1800 degrees was going to be challenge, but not something that I had not worked on previous. I really wanted to use a salmon pink in with some of the iconic teals that I have become more known for and get the paint to “Splash” as it hits the surface, so to get the line coming over the top in pure randomness, like you would get by a wave hitting a rock in a storm. To achieve this, I flick the palette knife as it hits the hot surface to create the effect. This does not appear on all my works but genuinely wanted to make something sensational for this show.
Vailadin View as shown here perfectly encapsulates the flick as the salmon pink meets the Teal. There is always a certain element of things coming together when painting, like turning a corner and seeing something you did not expect to see, or like the time when you are at the beach and a fish jumps out of the water, a beautiful moment that you will remember throughout the day. The pink flick here is all that to this painting.
I used quite typically layers and layers of paint mixed in with the coffee grounds for the work. The back had been bleached with a ferric chloride spray that I had created in the studio to get the brown aged effect, this is the basis for all the steel work that I use. It works well and you can get most tones for the background by using a varying degree of heat. During the summer months, I let the steels cure in the sun as it gives the art a little bit more of a natural feeling to it knowing that the sun has done a lot of the work for me.
Terrimore Path is the other featured image to be chosen by Flowers Gallery for this show. It seemed right to include some of the washed out greys that are sen here as they were on the palette and I am making grey a colour that is included in a lot of the new work, massively inspired by the coast across the south coast, hidden paths which appear on an evening stroll at the moment the sunlight finally disperses west for the day and you are left with that final burst of lithium from the suns glow before heading to the pub for a pint.
One of the colours that has always been a challenge in perfecting is the yellows seen here, I am glad it got chosen as I feel that it may have ben too light a yellow to fully achieve what I wanted. But as artists, you make art, even though not everything turns out correct. I feel that in the end I am happy with this little piece.
Small is Beautiful is on at Flowers Gallery from Wednesday 29th November until 6th January 2024. 21 Cork St, London W1S 3LZ.