Beside The Wave Gallery, founded in Cornwall in 1989, will host their first solo exhibition of work by a Primrose Hill artist this January. ‘Rough Seas for Mermaids’, a solo show for acclaimed painter Adrian Hemming will open with a private view on Thursday 26th January, 6-8pm and run until Wednesday 15th February.
The gallery opened in Primrose Hill in May 2015 and its changing programme of exhibitions have so far focused on presenting the contemporary Cornish Art scene to London. Gallery manager Claire Pearce says “2017 felt like the right time to really own our new surroundings and start presenting work by locally-based artists. The main focus of all of the work that we show is an exploration of the theme of place, with a major focus on art in Cornwall as this is where our first gallery started twenty-eight years ago; our London gallery has been evolving since day one, with the completely different context of London around it, and this inclusion of artists from our new locality is a very fitting, and exciting, next step. We are extremely proud to be representing the work of Adrian Hemming, whose work I have admired for a very long time.”
The exhibition will showcase a brand new collection of paintings by Adrian. The second in the artist’s series of blues works, the collection stems from an almost twenty-year fascination with a particular ultramarine:
‘Ultramarine Blue is the blue of the Medieval Church, it’s the blue of the Virgin Mary, it’s the blue of the Princes and Popes of the Renaissance. It is the perfect blue made by grinding up the semi-precious stone Lapis Lazuli, and purifying it by a complex and difficult process. Sometimes referred to as True Blue, it was and still is one of the more expensive pigments (although now it is made from a chemical process). But I love it. I found my blue, called A19, in the form of big fat crayons manufactured by the Unison Company. I now buy kilo bags of the pure pigment A19 and make my own oil and watercolours. Originally I used it to represent the total blue sky of the Australian series. The Deluge painting demanded it and so this single colour has acquired more and more significance, culminating in the present show. It’s paean to an ancient colour.’ Extract from ‘In conversation with Dr. Paul Williamson, Director V & A Museum’.
With the first series of blue works influenced by travels around the Mediterranean Sea, the starting point for this series is a more abstract one:
‘First and foremost, the paintings are about blue before they are about Sea and Sky. The iconography of the works is based on chance and accident. The format of the works is as simple as I can make it, sometimes a halfway division leaving two blocks of richly worked blue on top and bottom of the canvas. The wonder is that, despite this non-figurative approach, it still recalls to the onlooker Visceral memories of places and events that they may have experienced.’ Adrian Hemming, 2017
Adrian Hemming, born in Leicester in 1945, has twice been short-listed for the Artist in Residence at the National Gallery, London. He has lectured and exhibited widely in England, Scotland, America and South Africa. His work can be found in many private and public collections as well as being on public view in Terminal One, Heathrow Airport, as a result of a major commission by BAA. He now lives in Primrose Hill and works from the South Gate Studios in the East End where he has been painting full time since 1990.