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Hobson’s Choice – Nicholas Byrne at Vilma Gold

25 January 2013 By
Nicholas Byrne, Role (detail), 2012, oil on copper, 50 x 35 x 1 cm. Courtesy the artist and Vilma Gold

26 January – 23 February 2013

6 Minerva Street, London E2 9EH

Open Tuesday – Saturday 11.00 – 18.00 and by appointment

www.vilmagold.com

Opening tonight at Vilma Gold in Bethnal Green is the second solo exhibition at the gallery of new paintings by young British artist Nicholas Byrne, whose work I absolutely love!  Bringing together small oil paintings, a large-scale triptych and three diptychs, all drawn on copper and corporeal in scale, this new body of work extends Byrne’s distinctive lexicon of figures, profiles and hieroglyphic forms.  Byrne’s paintings stage a transaction between the figure and design, with figurative motifs teetering on the brink of collapse only to re-surface via ornamental and mannered painterly elements that often overtly reference stylistic moments in the history of 20th century painting. His approach to painting is gestural, with brushstrokes apparently applied with great rapidity, vigour and movement.  The heavily worked painterly surface and the exposed copper  ground beneath evoke the idea of image-making through rubbing over a raised surface, like brass rubbings, as if the image is in the process of being excavated from its historical references or, in the words of the press release, ‘as if tuned into the conductive properties of the metal supports, brush marks gather and disperse in the works like iron filings drawn towards a moving charge’.  A fantastic painter and an absolutely must see show in my view!

Image: Nicholas Byrne, Role (detail), 2012, oil on copper, 50 x 35 x 1 cm. Courtesy the artist and Vilma Gold