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Details & Cataloguing

The Robert Devereux Collection of Post-War British Art in aid of the African Arts Trust, Sale 1

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London

Callum Innes
B.1962
EXPOSED PAINTING, OLIVE
signed and dated 96. on the overlap
oil on canvas
210 by 215cm.; 82¾ by 84½in.
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Provenance

Saatchi Gallery, London
Frith Street Gallery, London, where acquired by the present owner in July 2008

Catalogue Note

Callum Innes belongs to a generation of British artists who continue to explore the possibilities of paint on canvas. Since he first began exhibiting in the mid-to-late 1980s, Innes has steadily emerged as one of the leading abstract painters of his generation, achieving widespread recognition through major exhibitions worldwide, including being short listed for the Turner Prize in 1995, winning the NatWest Art Prize in 1998 and the Jerwood Painting Prize in 2002. Innes continues to live and work in Edinburgh and there is something in the light and calm clarity of his paintings that remains rooted to the east coast of Scotland. 

Innes works in a distinct style of painting that he has made his own. He first applies a single colour of paint to the canvas and then, before it dries, washes on turpentine to strip back the paint leaving faint, vestigial traces of colour in a process he terms 'un-painting'. In repeating this technique, a lyricism and depth is injected into otherwise architecturally 'still' paintings, and seemingly monochromatic blocks of colour veil layers of varied pigments. This adding and subtracting of the painting process represents a contradiction at the core of Innes' work: that paintings so elemental can have such a complex, powerful effect on the eye.

Innes's painting technique evolves through series; in each he varies the painting and 'un-painting' process and the elemental forms, building upon previous themes in a steady progression. Exposed Paintings is perhaps his best known series in which his minimalist treatment of the surface and layering of monochrome paint is, as the title suggests, at its most exposed. In Exposed Painting, Olive the washed vertical line that runs down the composition reveals the 'un-painting' process that has taken place within the ordered finish. This controlled, functional process paradoxically creates a work of emotional feeling and spatial ambiguity. Colour and form harmonise in simplicity creating coolly atmospheric works that exude a meditative calm.

The Robert Devereux Collection of Post-War British Art in aid of the African Arts Trust, Sale 1

|
London