Hobson’s Choice: Robert Holyhead at PEER

25 May 2012 By
Hobson's Choice: Robert Holyhead at PEER

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, recommends his favourite exhibition of the week.

16 May – 7 July 2012

97-99 Hoxton Street, London N1 6QL


Open Wednesday – Saturday 12.00 – 18.00

Once again, I find myself recommending a new exhibition that has recently opened at Peer in Hoxton Street: the first solo exhibition in a public gallery by British artist, Robert Holyhead.  The exhibition brings together dozens of delicate watercolour drawings – unframed and carefully arranged on long narrow ledges to form a grid pattern – along with several modestly-sized oil paintings.  Holyhead’s practice is abstract painting and the presentation of his watercolour drawings in this show provides a kind of language through which he explores what seem to be compositional and colour strategies for the larger works on canvas.  Both the studies and the paintings are typically in one colour – sometimes vivid and saturated, other times diluted to the point of invisibility and sparely applied – with the particular qualities of the paint and brushstrokes left visible to allow for subtle variations in tone and irregularities in line.   White space is clearly as important to Holyhead as the application of colour, the tension between the two is an intrinsic aspect of his compositions, with  crisp, stencil-like geometric shapes cutting into flat translucent areas of wash, heightening both gestural process and media and making artistic intentions – an investigation into the enduring possibilities of painting – subtly present.  Another beautiful show at Peer- not to be missed!

Image: © Robert Holyhead, Untitled, 2012, oil on canvas, courtesy PEER

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