Contemporary Art5 - 27 Mar 2018Bartholomew Beal, Tim Pomeroy, Oliver Marsden, Keith Coventry, Emma Maiden, contemporary art, art, contemporary, contemporary artists, Sara Terzi
Bartholomew Beal: This Great Stage of Fools18 Jan - 5 Feb 2016In January 2016 The Fine Art Society, in collaboration with I.P. Arts, presented the second solo exhibition of British painter Bartholomew Beal, the youngest artist to be exhibited in the gallery’s 140 year history.
What Marcel Duchamp Taught Me10 Oct - 5 Nov 2014Marking the centenary of Duchamp's readymade, The Fine Art Society was proud to present a major group exhibition What Marcel Duchamp Taught Me. It was the largest show in the history of the gallery, taking over the entire five floors of the Bond Street townhouse as over 50 Contemporary artists responded to Duchamp and his legacy. The readymade is a concept that challenged the very notion of art itself. As a result of this gesture, anything could be art if the artist chose it.
Duchamp's impact not just as an artist but also as a great thinker and writer, is incalculable. His afterlife is undoubtedly phenomenal and his legacy is a subject continually discussed by art historians and critics. Yet it is so deeply embedded in the practice of art that it is hard to pin down. So instead The Fine Art Society has asked artists to respond directly and personally. Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) is a multifaceted figure who still looms large over contemporary art. Duchamp is worshipped by some and condemned by others - either way there is no disputing that he is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
Duchamp derided the adoration of art and all canons of taste and categorisation. He said once, "I force myself to contradict myself so as to avoid conforming to my own taste". In 1913 he set in motion one of the single most influential and significant ideas in modern art. Alone in his studio he created his first readymade by selecting and presenting a found object, Bicycle Wheel. He would not show the work for another year - the first pure readymade is dated to the 1914 Bottle Rack.
Bartholomew Beal: A Heap of Broken Images24 Jun - 29 Aug 2014The Fine Art Society was proud to hold Bartholomew Beal's first exhibition at the gallery, making him the youngest ever artist to stage a solo show in the gallery's 138 year history. The title A Heap of Broken Images, is borrowed from TS Eliot's landmark poem The Waste Land. The entire body of work is a translation of this literary work into paint on canvas, and whilst some pieces have stayed quite true to that starting point with clear references, others have "run away with themselves" - a process the artist describes as mirroring "how exciting a day in the studio can be, surrounded by paintings in progress".
Eliot's powerful poem jumps between languages, characters and points of view - much like Beal's atmospheric paintings, themselves heaps of broken images. There may be a specific starting point for each work but the creative journey is far from certain, with traces of several other ghost paintings which are crucial fragments of the story of that work. Beal walks a fine line between referencing the specifics of his poetic source material and surrendering himself to the possibilities of beautiful accidents inherant in the process of painting.
There is an element of the undecided in each painting, leaving the ideas open for the painting to be finished by the decisions and imagination of the viewer. The generalised man in the middle of each painting leaves much to be concluded and his surroundings are hints and suggestions but nothing final.
Somewhat unusually for works of such an understated appeal, Beal works in saturated colours. His adoption of a bright often unatural palette is combined with obscured shapes and unidentified visual references, further heightening a sense that he is constructing uncloncluded episodes.