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Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

Hurvin Anderson
B. 1965
ROAD (WESTERN MAINE)
signed, dated 2003 and variously inscribed on the reverse
oil on canvas
162 by 269cm.; 63 3/4 by 105 7/8 in.
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Provenance

Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2009

Catalogue Note

An enchanting cacophony of sunshine oranges and verdant greens, Western Main is a captivating example of Hurvin Anderson’s extraordinary painterly facture. In the present work, Anderson imbues an ostensibly quotidian road side scene with a mysterious air through his adroit manipulation of translucent, atmospheric glazes. Washes of fiery, brilliant orange pigment punctuate the foreground of the composition and fluidly metamorphose into the lush greens of the vegetation, bathing the surrounding figures in ghostly shadow. In contrast, the powdery blue sky floats above with an almost celestial purity, arousing the senses to evoke the exoticism of the Caribbean. In recent years Anderson has established himself as one of the foremost painters of his generation with a major mid-career exhibition at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery. Described as a modern take on “Arcadia”, the artist’s technical ingenuity and conceptual dialogue has ultimately elevated the established practice of British landscape painting into the Twenty-First Century (Exhibition Catalogue, London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Hurvin Anderson: A View of the River Cobre, 2006, n.p.).

In 2002 Anderson spent a formative sojourn in Trinidad as part of an artist’s residency programme at Caribbean Contemporary Arts. Everyday life on the island began to inform the subjects of many of the artist’s paintings produced on his return to the UK the following year; the opulent landscape of Western Main firmly belongs to this vivid group of works. Affirming that although: “memory is the trigger. I will start from an idea about a place” (Hurvin Anderson quoted in: Hossein Amirsadeghi, Ed., Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios, London 2012, p. 366). Anderson finds further inspiration from photographic sources: “I tried to work in the studio but it was too much, being away and stuck in a studio. So I opted for taking photographs, for seeing what the place was about” (Ibid., p 368). Indeed, Anderson's contemporary at the Royal College of Art, Peter Doig, employs a similar artistic method, combining memory and photography. In both their painterly technique and formal compositional structure, the oeuvres of these two painters are intimately entwined.

The detached viewpoint of Western Main imbues the work with an overwhelming sensation of dislocation and displacement, offering the viewer an outsider’s perspective. This liberating feeling of separation, both societal and cultural, was cultivated during his stay in Trinidad and is at the very heart of Anderson’s aesthetic. As the artist recalls, “What had the greatest impact on me was how I existed there. I was British one moment, Jamaican the next. If they didn’t know who I was, I could have been Trinidadian. So I existed in all these different places… It was intriguing to not exist anywhere” (Ibid.). Western Main evocatively assumes this position of a detached observer, created through the perusal of layers of different memories and associations. The outcome is a resolutely poignant painting that belies the apparently humble nature of the quotidian scene that is here so lyrically depicted. 

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London