In the shape of centuries: Recent works by Richard Stone

18 Jun 2015 – 4 Jul 2015

James Freeman Gallery

London, United Kingdom


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Richard Stone's work is all about contradictions – in media, in ideas, and in artistic intentions. Through both painting and sculpture he explores two conflicting forces that create a continual tension in the field of art: the accumulation and endurance of cultural heritage, versus the need for new creation and artistic progress.


Stone takes antique artefacts as a point of focus, using old paintings and sculptures as both a reference and as the physical support for his own works. His paintings are often antique landscapes that have been sanded down till little remains of the scene they once represented. He then repaints their surfaces, seeking to recreate the lost image but finding only a misty, indeterminate scene. It is an approach that touches on both the Turneresque tradition in English landscape painting, and at the same time De Kooning's constantly re-worked surfaces that seem to exist in a continual state of becoming.

Similarly with his sculptures, Stone will take an antique bronze figure and subject its well-defined form to the fluidity of wax, in a way that hides its pertinent features and undermines both the image and the nature of the medium. It is a subtle subversion of sculpture's archetypal solidity, whilst also being an attempt to find a new route to the emotional complexity that sculptural traditions have so long explored. Other works create in bronze the landscape motifs that are so elusive in his paintings, resulting in rocky crags reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich's romantic heights but turned solid, weighty and hard. Or the branch of a magnolia: an enduring and ancient plant, older even than the bee, but in Stone's bronze rendering still fragile and temporary, its metal petals falling to the gallery floor.

This process of forging new territory, only to then revisit what has been left behind, informs where Stone positions his viewer: in an imagined place, as if journeying to an unknown destination, looking back to a distant shore and no longer able to clearly discern its form. The motifs of one medium take shape in another; the reliability of past definitions, both in image and objects, becomes unreliable; the ideas and ideals of the past remain, but once left behind they can never be the same again.

Richard Stone is a London-based artist who received his MA from Central Saint Martins. He is included in the museum exhibition Nature Morte, curated by Michael Petry, touring to Ha gamle prestegard, Norway, 2015, Konsthallen-Bohusläns Museum, Sweden 2016, Belgium in 2017, and returning to London in 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include gleam at Kristin Hjellegjerde, London (2014), the end of england, Galleries Goldstein, London, new portrait capes, The Horse Hospital, London and a walk at dusk and dawn, Burgh House (all 2012). Recent group exhibitions and commissions include Ruins (with Saad Qureshi) at Kristin Hjellegjerde, London (2013) and Old Master Dialogues at Collyer Bristow, London (commission, 2013). Stone is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including an Arts Council England award for a significant phase of research and development (2013) as well as a Scholarship at Fonderia Mariana, Italy (2014), awarded by the Royal British Society of Sculptors and the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust. In 2012 he was a finalist for Anthology at CHARLIE SMITH London and shortlisted for the Beers Contemporary Art Award. In 2011 he was selected for The Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture. Recent works are included in Nature Morte by Michael Petry, published by Thames & Hudson, Hirmer and Ludion (2013). His works are also in collections in the UK, Europe and the United States.


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James Freeman

Exhibiting artists

Richard Stone


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