The collection, the second in the artist's series of blue works, 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 was born in Leicester in 1945. He left school at fifteen to become an engineer. Following his apprenticeship he travelled widely in Europe and developed an appreciation of landscape and a love of art.
On returning to England, Adrian was accepted onto the Foundation Course at Lincoln College of Art. His B.A. was completed at Brighton Polytechnic (1973) and his M.A. at Goldsmiths College, London University (1982).
He co-founded Tichbourne Studios in Brighton and later founded the Angel Studios in London. He went on to establish Southgate Studios in the East End where he has been painting full time since 1990.
Adrian 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.