AboutNichollas Hamper, Clio Heath, Howard Michels and Benedict Pulsford joined the Slade School of Art in 1975. Drawn together by the passion and dynamism of tutor Mick Moon and his colleagues they worked and played hard over the following four years. After graduating they stayed friends, but during the next 32 years ventured in quite different directions. We revisit the Slade degree show of 1979 to see what glued these artists together and then jump to the present day to reveal where their individual journeys have led.
At the Slade, Hamper abandoned the rigid approach to observational painting under the liberating influence of tutors Mick Moon, John Hoyland, Tess Jaray, Howard Hodgkin and others. He flourished and blossomed into a proto-punk renegade, habitué of the Vortex Club, whilst also enjoying cups of tea in the studios of venerable artists and acquiring what some might describe as an artistic education. Now living in self-imposed exile in rural France he works furiously, crafting his neo-vorticubist paintings, constructions and ceramics.
Heath works quietly in north London, her paintings are about realising the tensions of a simple and restricted subject matter. She explores a wide variety of defined sets of shapes through drawing. And by a process of repetition, reflection, rotation and division an arrangement with depth, rhythm and an inner dynamic is sought. The composition is extended and new connections are introduced via colour and tonality. The last stage is to relate the composition to the edges of the canvas where, finally, the balance and energy of the work is realised
Howard Michels lives in the East End, but Michels has a passion for the Far East. In the summer of 2011 he visited secluded parts of the Chao Phraya river, encountering friendly strangers there as he painted through the night. Making these watercolours in the instantaneous moment and often in total darkness provides them with a fluidity and sense of abandon. Their almost unhinged quality gives the work both its strength and vulnerability. They express the rarity of the encounter and Michelss need to include the anxiety of the situation in his paintings.
Contrasting themes of revelation and concealment, light and dark, joy and sorrow, mirth and menace pervade Pulsford's work. These motifs conspire to create rich paintings of mystery, colour and musicality. The soundtrack in his studio and the titles he chooses may be steeped in the juke joints of the Mississippi hill country, but his bold colours and fluid brushwork are more akin to the bright lights and dark corners of a seedy jazz club.
4 painters..... 32 years later.... 1 exhibition.....
Dedicated to the memory of John Hoyland 1934-2011