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billy childish - paintings from fossilised cretaceous seams

Opening: 21 Jun 2024, 18:00 - 21:00

22 Jun 2024 – 17 Aug 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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In his seventh solo exhibition with the gallery, paintings from fossilised cretaceous seams, Billy Childish presents new paintings that ponder landscapes at the confluence of powers terrestrial and celestial.


In his seventh solo exhibition with the gallery, paintings from fossilised cretaceous seams, Billy Childish presents new paintings that ponder landscapes at the confluence of powers terrestrial and celestial. In direct reflections of his impulse to join the heavens and the Earth through his work, Childish fuses the spiritual and the physical as moonlit portrayals of a natural world that bears the marks of vast unwritten histories, echoes the present and holds the capacity to pointedly indicate the future.

Childish’s practice is one that venerates the creative spirit as integral to lived experience. This ethos molds his depictions of forests, mountains, streams, cliffs and the decorated skies above - protagonists that regularly appear in his canvases - into necessary modes of expression. The results of spontaneity, created without premeditated intent, compositions are allowed to develop organically by Childish’s hand, consciously free of external influences or forces, inspired by his singular perception of motifs that present themselves in passing. His images remain invitations, asking to be approached openly, their unguided reception individualized through the eyes of a viewer in an essential act. They are devotional journeys whose depths expand beyond the works’ surfaces into uncanny territories, chronicling an equally broad oeuvre. Diaristic in frequency and exposition, they function as mirrors plotting moments along timelines artistic, emotional and historical, their significances often only revealing themselves to Childish in retrospect.

Each of Childish’s works are symbols of the artist’s decided resolve to more intricately understand his subjects, with his impressions of landscape emblematic of this pursuit. The scale of that around him and its all-encompassing inevitability acts on the Childish as a humbling force, serving as a stark reminder of its grand power. While seemingly unrivaled, however, it too is bound by something greater: the focus of paintings from fossilised cretaceous seams, the Moon. Incomprehensibly distant yet visibly ever-present, enduring epochs, the Moon has embedded itself in nearly all facets of life, from biology, as evolved attunements to its cycles, to culture, in the shape of its role in legend. It stabilizes, regulates and controls, governing the bodies of water that reappear in Childish’s work, and acting as a mechanism that centers and grounds. Here, wooded scenes take on visual gravity through dense applications of oil paint, melding to surreal, flowing gradients that stand in contrast with fields of segmented brushwork, momentarily lifting the weight of his environments and resettling them in fluid motions. His representations seem to fade and rematerialize, duplicating and dissolving texture in a unifying haze. This widened scope narrows to the personal in a selection of works that center the artist himself and his family, along with a painted vase paying tribute to his mother. A oneness of scope and reception thus emerges, molding a distinct universality that links body, soul and the infinite unknown to nuanced accounts of existence.

Coinciding with paintings from fossilised cretaceous seams, Childish releases a new book of poetry, “poems from fossilized cretaceous seams,” and his latest LP, “blues that kills.” The exhibition at neugerriemschneider precedes the July publication of Ted Kessler’s “To Ease My Troubled Mind: The Authorised Unauthorised History of Billy Childish” - an intimate profile that spans Childish’s prolific output as a musician, poet, novelist and visual artist.

Billy Childish (b. 1959) has been the subject of international solo exhibitions, including those at He Art Museum, Foshan (2024); Villa Schöningen, Potsdam (2017); The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas (2017); Kunst- und Kulturstiftung Opelvillen Rüsselsheim, Rüsselsheim (2016); Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2014); No. 1 Smithery, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham (2012);  Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2010); and White Columns, New York (2010). Childish lives and works in Kent.

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Billy Childish


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