Marc de Puechredon, in association with John Martin and Edward Cutler, presents the first large scale solo exhibition of Welsh artist Neale Howells's work in Switzerland. The new work, which continues a dialogue begun earlier in 2012 with the double exhibition American Mama Gun Run staged between London and Milan, will be presented at the inauguration of Marc de Puechredon's new Basel gallery at St. Johanns-Vorstadt 78, and runs throughout June and July, opening at the start of ArtBasel week.
Howells's paintings absorb the seemingly relentless stream of information which crowd our daily lives sourced from television, radio, the internet and print media. Words, phrases and images are harvested, almost arbitrarily and repositioned on found panels and pieces of wood: tiny details and passages of text which are continually developed, obliterated and enlarged. His obsessive, timeconsuming process of painting is coupled with a desire to overwhelm and give the viewer a near cinematic experience through scale, achieved in such monumental works as The Fat Cat Family Funday which spans nearly five metres in length.
The starting point for much of Howells's work is the graphic language of 1950's Americana, filtered through elements of abstract expressionism, street art, graffiti and pop art. However the intense reworking and continual process of creation and obliteration negates the intentional anachronisms of his work. He is obliterating the chronology of art history in the same way he erases the texts of which the paintings are composed. Indeed, the finished works often suggest that the artist is searching back further to find an older classical painting standard, finding the rhythms of harmony in the order and place.
"Artists have to start with high expectations. I always wanted my paintings to give you the same excitement as going to the cinema. I want to make paintings that grab your attention from the start so I make big works that when you walk up to them overwhelm your eyes, engulfing you in art. It is a lot harder these days to do work like that; the paintings take longer to finish but you also ask more from them... you want to surprise yourself as you work and know the way you are working will have a positive ending. It seems to come through the detail - the large swathes of paint mean nothing if you can't find what a painting is about. So the smallest part becomes the most important. You have to believe in the work through every part of it so its identity runs through every line like DNA.
As I paint I usually obliterate the starting point, but it doesn't mean that the starting point isn't important. Many of the works began with the comics, slogans and advertising lines from America in the 1950s and those ideas and the feel of those times stay with the painting all the way through its unpredictable journey. How do you know when you arrive? Perhaps the truth is that a painting is never finished, just abandoned... Or perhaps completed by the person who takes the trouble to look at them.” Neale Howells, 2011
Marc de Puechredon
St. Johanns-Vorstadt, 78
Basel 4056 Switzerland
Tel. + 41 61 683 14 70
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