Derrick Greaves, now in his eighties, continues to work at the height of his powers and to take new paths that both surprise and delight. Nightingale and Other Recent Pictures emphasises not only the artist's continuing creativity as a painter, but also the centrality of print-making to his practise as an artist.
The exhibition takes as its starting point a suite of new prints on the subject of the nightingale. Vibrant studies of the song bird and of nature, these pictures address recurring motifs in the natural world.
The paintings in this exhibition point in new directions and reveal the ways in which Greaves has combined realist ideals with a modernist preoccupation with flatness. As Greaves has explained:
saw that if I was to re-evaluate the chromatic structure, the tone, the line, so that all the elements could be democratic, then I had to put on the paint in the simplest, most direct way. I painted more flatly so that I could see what I was doing, so I could judge the relationship of an area of paint to a line next to it: to assess proportion and juxtapositions in a valued and measured way.
The exhibition presents two new series of works on canvas: black ground paintings and large scale charcoals. Greaves's new black ground paintings use lines of white and of colour to surprising effect, including one painting, presciently made at the beginning of the year, in which a volcano dramatically erupts.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new portfolio of prints, Nightingale, and a related book The Barley Bird: Notes on the Suffolk Nightingale.