Derrick Greaves. The Pleasures of Drawing
James Hyman Gallery are delighted to present an exhibition of major works on paper by Derrick Greaves. This follows our critically acclaimed exhibition, Derrick Greaves: Paintings and Drawings 1952-2002, staged in 2003, which gave prominence to the artist's paintings.
One of the leading British Figurative Artists of the last fifty years, Derrick Greaves first gained acclaim in the mid 1950s as a `kitchen-sink' painter, along with John Bratby, Edward Middleditch and Jack Smith, whose work was celebrated for its bold, matter of fact presentation of prosaic subjects drawn from the external world. This was a short-lived moment and in the years since then, Greaves has also drawn inspiration from dreams and the unconscious to create an epic personal language that gives an extraordinary coherence to half a century of achievement. In following his own path Greaves has depicted everything from still-lives, interiors and landscapes to imaginary compositions in a language that is always his own. An iconographic boldness transforms subjects into emblematic motifs that are both solid and dignified, witty and sexy. The exhibition includes refined working studies, highly finished exhibition drawings and large-scale collages on canvases to reveal Greaves's highly personal use of colour and the responsibility he gives to line to convey meaning.
Greaves succeeds in making work that is economic appear rich in possibilities, and lines which are spare attain a lyricism. For the artist, the results may be 'hard-won' and the aim one of clarity, but for the viewer, what Greaves achieves is a joyful 'Mozartian lightness'.