Humphrey Ocean marks a return to Canterbury with his beautifully displayed exhibition Humphrey Ocean Perfectly Ordinary. The Sidney Cooper Gallery is in the actual building where the old Canterbury College of Art painting studios were, a place where he says life for him began to get better. Alongside his painted accounts of South London where he lives, described in the illuminating catalogue essay by David Anfam as " the elusiveness epitomising the everyday, a phenomenon present everywhere while nonetheless invisible" he is showing a new series of portraits of people called 'Peggy's Birthday?. This is the recent development of an idea Humphrey first had with Ian Dury who taught him here in Canterbury and became a lifelong friend. Both of their lives changed when they met. In the last few years Humphrey Ocean has started to make etchings and he is showing a series of aquatints of Chairs as well as a set of etchings From This We Can Tell, a development of the drawings he has been making in his Dot Books. Anfam continues "Ocean's From This We Can Tell etchings explore the slipperiness of signification, the arbitrariness (as a century of semiotics attests) with which words and marks come to denote things. Scant wonder the artist explains his title 'is what an archaeologist often says when emerging from a dig, holding something not yet quite intelligible.' Enisled in luminous white paper, Ocean's minuscule ideograms cluster tantalising nuggets of darkness"
This is Ocean's first exhibition since how's my driving at Dulwich Picture Gallery and is an unusual chance to see a group of new works shown together.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 48 page full colour hardback catalogue with an essay by David Anfam.