"Visual artists...have a peculiar ability - and therefore, whether they like it or not, a responsibility - to draw attention to that elusive thing we call reality, which may, when fused with fantasy and personal obsession, bring forth something that can be recognized as art"
- Sir Norman Rosenthal
Van de Weghe Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of sculpture by four renowned British artists: Tony Cragg, Douglas Gordon, Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread. These artists, each Turner Prize recipients, have been recognized as some of the most ground-breaking contemporary artists working today. The works on view span more than two decades, yet they each draw on the vernacular of the everyday and elevate it through its reinterpretation.
Tony Cragg (b. 1949, Liverpool) was trained as a scientist and came to see art-making as an expansion of his scientific interests. Cragg's early work utilized found materials including construction detritus and household objects arranged systematically on the floor and in stacks, creating a dialogue between natural and artificial materials and forms. Untitled, c.1988 exemplifies Cragg's tansition in the mid 1980s from these arrangements to the free-standing, three-dimensional works he is known for today.
Douglas Gordon (b. 1966, Glasgow) is best known for his work in film and photography, drawing on fixtures of popular culture and collective memory and manipulating them to jarring effect. Gordon skillfully witholds and reveals information, upsetting our assumptions of what will be seen. In Untitled (Blind), a sculpture from 1998, Gordon has taken control of a common set of Venetian blinds, subverting the sense of privacy they usually provide.
Damien Hirst (b. 1965, Leeds) is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists (or YBAs), which dominated the British art scene in the 1990s. Hirst's work demonstrates a fascination with systems - science and religion chief among them - which we use to mitigate our fear of alienation and death. Dog Days, 2008 is one of Hirst's series of cabinet works, its shelves lined with extinguished cigarettes. Spaced at equal intervals, they echo the ticking of a clock, and evoke the anxiety of and resignation to the inevitable passage of time and its ultimate result.
Rachel Whiteread (b. 1963, London), another member of the YBA group, is best known for making casts of the spaces that surround everyday objects and architectural structures, solidifying their absence. The sculptures often retain the residue of the objects and forms that they enclose creating a fossil of modern life and making memory tangible. Untitled, 2010, is derived from the space underneath a pair of chairs, meticulously hand-carved in Blue Forest Dean and Ancaster stones. They are monuments to the mundane and evoke a sense of nostalgia for those things that are, by their nature, impermanent.
The works on view are prime examples of each artist's oeuvre. The sensitive handling of everyday materials leads to the creation or objects that are both formally beautiful and thought-provoking. The works draws us in, as familiar things do, and make us reconsider the world around us through these different lenses.
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mondays by appointment.