This group exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpture brings together artworks by many of the most sought after Irish and International artists including Basil Blackshaw (Northern Ireland), Sandro Chia (Italy), Alan Davie (Scotland), Patrick Graham (Ireland), Teiji Hayama (Japan), Robert Motherwell (USA), Larry Poons (USA), Shani Rhys James (Wales), Mario Schifano (Italy), Julian Schnabel (USA), Tim Scott (England), John Noel Smith (Ireland) and Michael Warren (Ireland).
Larry Poons was b orn in Tokyo 1937 and studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts in the 1950s. His first one-man exhibition was at the Green Gallery in New York in 1963, and he was included in the ground-breaking Responsive Eye exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965.
"The throw and pour and deep relief of earlier paintings has been replaced by gloriously multi-hued, delicately applied passages of brush painting. Geometric shapes - cones, pyramids and ellipses – sometimes collaged, float against mosaic backdrops of colour. They have a landscape feel to them which recalls impressionist painting although there is a dynamism to the work and a curiousness to the invented shapes which makes the paintings quite unlike anything we have seen so far.”
Poons has had more than 60 solo shows in galleries throughout the world. Achieving enormous success early in his career, his work is in numerous public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) was one of the most important American artists of the last century. He was awarded a fellowship to the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles at age 11, and in 1932 studied painting briefly at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Motherwell received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1937 and enrolled for graduate work later that year in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University. He travelled to Europe in 1938 for a year of study abroad, and his first one-person exhibition was presented at the Raymond Duncan Gallery in Paris in 1939.
In September of 1940 Motherwell settled in New York, and in 1941 he went to Mexico with Roberto Matta for six months. On return to New York, his circle included Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann and Jackson Pollock. A solo exhibition of Motherwell’s work was held at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, New York, in 1944. In 1946, he began to associate with Herbert Ferber, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, and in this year, Motherwell was given solo exhibitions at the Arts Club of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Art, and he participated in Fourteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The artist subsequently taught and lectured throughout the United States, and continued to exhibit extensively in the United States and abroad. A Motherwell exhibition took place at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1976–77. He was given important solo exhibitions at the Royal Academy, London, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1978. A retrospective of his works organised by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, travelled in the United States from 1983 to 1985. Robert Motherwell died July 16, 1991, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Sandro Chia was born in Florence in 1946 and studied first at the Istituto d’Arte and then at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence from which he graduated in 1969. He began exhibiting his work in 1971, referring to his early works as ‘mythical conceptual art'. In the late 1970s he turned away from conceptual art to create a new kind of figurative painting and established himself as a key member of the Transavanguardia movement in painting alongside Francesco Clemente, Mimmo Paladino and Enzo Cucchi.
Chia draws freely on the art of the past to create a style that is entirely personal, yet is enriched by the echoes of its sources; heroic figures imbued with an enigmatic sense of mission are Chia's main protagonists as manifestations of his own identity.
His work has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions around the world including Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1983); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1984); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1984, 1992); Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris (1984); the Museums of Dusseldorf (1984), Antwerp (1989), Mexico City (1989); Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence (1991); the Museums of Karlsruhe (1992), Palm Springs (1993), Villa Medici in Rome (1995); Palazzo Reale in Milan (1997), the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida (1997), the Galleria Civica of Siena (1997), the Galleria Civica in Trento (2000), the Museo d’Arte of Ravenna (2000); Palazzo Pitti and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Florence (2002); and the Duomo of St. Agostino in Pietrasanta (2005) and Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna of Rome (GNAM) (2010).
Alan Davie was born in Grangemouth, Scotland in 1920, studied painting from 1937 to 1941 at the Edinburgh College of Art and also learnt silversmithing. A multi-faceted talent from the start, Davie was interested in exotic art, played several instruments, discovered jazz and joined the Cam Robbie jazz band as a saxophonist. While serving in the Royal Artillery between 1941 and 1946, Davie was inspired by reading James Joyce to write poetry himself.
On his return to London, Alan Davie was particularly taken with the work of Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso exhibited there, which left a lasting impression on him and made him seek contact with modern English painters and their work. Taking Paul Klee's pictorial language as his point of departure, Davie was already working in a manner close to Abstract Expressionism when he linked up with the tradition of early 20th-century Scottish modern art. After his marriage to the artist Janet Gaul, Davie abandoned painting for jazz for a while.
In 1948 Alan Davie met Peggy Guggenheim, who introduced him to early American Abstract Expressionism. Much impressed by the work of Jackson Pollock, Davie returned to painting. 'Music for a Pagan Dance' (1949) is Davie's first public foray into the new abstract 'all-over' style of painting. From then on a semi-automatic method of painting would be characteristic of Davie's approach to his work. Confirmation of Davie's painting came with Peggy Guggenheim's purchase of one of his works.
In 1950 Davie had his first one-man London show, at Gimpel Fils (in 1946 he had already had one at Grant's Bookshop in Edinburgh), where he continued to show regularly. In 1956 Davie went to New York. Primitive art now inspired him to a powerfully gestural approach to painting; in 'Footprint Image' he combined vehement brush strokes with his own footprints. Action Painting became important and Davie sought to contact the conventional painting process by working rapidly on the floor, adding pieces of rubbish, dripping paint and turning pictures around and over.
In the 1960s Davie switched from 'all-over' to compositions of real and fictive signs shaped by contours. Music, to which Davie again began devoting more time in the 1970s, has remained a constant in his life. Considered by many to be one of the most important British artists of the post-war era, his work is distinguished by spontaneity, exuberant colour and improvisation.
One of the few British artists from his generation who enjoys truly international recognition, his work can be seen in galleries and museums worldwide, including Tate Modern, London; The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museu de Arte Contemporanea, São Paulo.
Mario Schifano was born in Libya in 1934. He moved to Rome to become an artist in his early 20s and his work soon caught the attention of others; Cy Twombly was an early supporter. He became part of the core group of artists comprising the Scuola Romana and is considered one of the most significant and innovative Italian post-war artists, alongside Cucchi, Festa, Clemente, Paladino, Chia, etc. In 1962, the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York included him as one of the few Europeans in The New Realists exhibition alongside Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and others.
Like Andy Warhol's involvement in pop music and film, Schifano's career in the 1960s was also closely associated with this scene, making movies such as art film 'Umano Non Umano' (Human, Not Human) [described by Jean-Luc Godard as one of the most interesting movies of the time] with his friends the Rolling Stones, and experimental music with his avant garde group Le Stelle di Mario Schifano.
In 1964 he is invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in Venice, and it is around this time that he begins to paint his trademark 'anaemic landscapes'. The following year he exhibits at the Biennale in San Marino and at the São Paulo Art Biennial in Brazil.
Schifano had a problematic life, one made more difficult by the vast quantities of drugs he consumed. He used to say that the only rational part of his life was his work, the rest was rather schizophrenic; later he developed agoraphobia and became incapable of leaving his palazzo. He died in Rome of a heart attack in 1998.
Patrick Graham was born in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland in 1943 and he attended the National College of Art and Design (1959-1963). Graham has long been considered 'Ireland's finest draughtsman' and a genuine 'artist's artist', but these much abused terms - though undoubtedly apt in relation to Graham - do not capture the truly powerful nature of his work. Graham's paintings and drawings are a magnificent and unique balancing act of strength and fragility.
"Patrick Graham's paintings are masterpieces... on a grand physical, emotional and intellectual scale... they are among the most cpmplicated, salient reflections on modern existence that have been made in the last decade.” Donald Kuspit