Stuart Cumberland is a great painter. However, as brilliant as he may be, a good painter is like a fluent speaker of an obscure language, on holiday in the U.S. Ultimately someone's going to ask "D'ya speak English?. If communication requires the use of dominant currencies of cultural exchange, then celebrity and mass consumption have become such dominant currencies.
Sidestepping without ignoring these topics, the "Four Circle Paintings" in this exhibition take up the debates of the art historical legacy of painting, which has wrestled with the above for over a century. Whilst adopting techniques and attitudes related to commercial acumen and mass production these new abstract paintings take simple visual pleasure as their target.
This solo exhibition, Cumberland's third at The Approach
, consists of four single colour paintings of four hand drawn circles. The gestural drawing and rapid colouring in that are rendered using stencil techniques, perfectly hold in balance a tension between the handmade and the mechanical. Many of the lazy basic human desires to decadently slob around, piss, dribble and drip everywhere have been processed and mediated into these elegant paintings, that Cumberland refers to as 'posh ornaments'.
Stuart Cumberland was born in England in 1970 and lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include: Maruani & Noirhomme, Brussels (2011); Bloomberg Space, London (2010); The Approach, London (2009); The Approach, London (2007); Kate MacGarry, London (2006 and 2003). Group shows include What Kind of Painting?, Sprüth Magers Projekte, Münich (2008); The Way We Work Now, Camden Arts Centre, London (2006); 60th Anniversary Show, curated by Des Hughes, Gimpel Fils, London (2006); Dirty Pictures, The Approach, London, (2003); Saatchi Gallery Bursaries 19992001, 30 Underwood Street, London (2001); Home & Away, Gavin Browns Enterprise, New York (1998).