'At a certain time in my life the world as I saw it flattened for me - things, objects flattened.. It was not Cezanne's flatness, neither was it Cubism, "hermetic" or "synthetic". It was mine - I hadn't looked for it - how could you? The best figurative art pulls itself inevitably towards the abstract' Derrick Greaves, from an unpublished notebook entry.
White Ground and Other Recent Paintings present Derrick Greaves's most recent paintings and reveals the development of his imagery, from paintings based on nature and observable fact to more studio-bound imaginative constructs.
These latest paintings provide an insight into the evolution of Greaves's work since the publication of a major book on the artist in Spring 2007. They highlight not only his extraordinary vitality but also the way that the artist has once more reassessed his priorities to push his work in fresh directions.
At the centre of the exhibition are a group of white ground paintings that are some of the most pared down images that Derrick Greaves has ever produced. Refined, abstracted images consisting of elegant coloured lines set against the clean white of the primed canvas ground, these paintings display the artist's characteristic wit, whilst being some of his most formally extreme pictures.
Derrick Greaves (b.1927) is one of the most important British painters of the last half century. Greaves initially gained acclaim in the 1950s, when he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale along with the other 'Kitchen-Sink' painters with whom he was initially associated: John Bratby, Edward Middleditch and Jack Smith.
Despite this early acclaim, Greaves swiftly moved from the social realism of the 1950s to a more heraldic style that paralleled 1960s Pop Art. Since that period he has continued to develop his imagery combining sophistication with humour and voluptuousness with refinement.
James Hyman, Derrick Greaves. From Kitchen-Sink to Shangri-La is published by Lund Humphries at £40.00.
© 2021 James Hyman Gallery, PO Box 72888,
LONDON N2 2FH