LONDON.- Agnews Gallery
presents its fifth exhibition of the work of Andrew Gadd, The Day Begins. The exhibition sees Gadd further developing his themes of isolation and social brutality, yet it also presents an exploration of new subject matter. A quartet of religious pictures, for instance, was developed out of a commission from the Churches Advertising Network to produce an image that appeared in bus shelters across the country in 2008. The resulting composition, Gadds hauntingly beautiful Bus Stop Nativity which depicts the Holy Family huddled in a bus shelter, serves as an appropriately bleak twenty-first century urban alternative to the traditional stable narrative.
The Day Begins also includes several Cubist-inspired meditations on cityscapes and abstract concepts. This is Gadd engaging with a very different pictorial language, and represents a significant stylistic departure for the artist. These new themes, however, inhabit paintings that are still strongly characteristic of Gadds wider body of work; inspired by memory, imagination and the subconscious, they draw the viewer into a world of magical yet troubling narrative. The Day Begins illuminates Gadds foray into the intangible world, and reveals his enduring tendency to reject simple explanations in favour of spellbinding questions or uncertainties.
In his introduction to the exhibition catalogue, Andrew Lambirth acknowledges Gadds debt to the Old Masters, and cites Goya, Poussin and Cézanne as temperamental and stylistic influences. Brian Sewells description of the artist as a belated heir to Sickert, [William] Nicholson and Orpen also serves as a positive recognition of Gadds commitment to figurative oil painting on a grand scale. Lambirth ultimately positions Gadd within a twentieth-century artistic framework, making comparisons between his recent body of work and those belonging to Roderic Barrett and John Armstrong.
The Day Begins presents Gadds simultaneous renderings of past and present, figurative and abstract, clarity and ambiguity as elements which make up the timeless quality of his work.
Andrew Gadd was born in London in 1968. He studied at Chelsea and Falmouth schools of Art between 1985 and 1990. In 1990 he began his postgraduate degree at the Royal Academy Schools. On completion of his studies there in 1993, he won the R.A. Gold Medal for painting and the Richard Ford Travel Scholarship to Spain. Since graduating from the R.A., Andrew has exhibited successfully at various galleries in London, New York and Italy including The National Portrait Gallery. The artists work can now be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Royal Academy, as well as in numerous important corporate and private collections.