Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by British artist Billy Childish, his first show in Hong Kong. A prolific artist, musician and poet, Childish is an energetic creative force whose practice is a consistent aspect of his everyday life.
Created over the past year, Childish’s most recent paintings comprise large-scale portraits and landscapes painted in vivid hues and with frenetic marks on raw linen. At once wild, subtle and elemental, these new works celebrate the artist’s fundamental love and understanding of the craft and traditions of painting. His imagery draws inspiration from subjects close to his emotional and physical world: his immediate family, particularly his wife and young daughter, and his environment, including the riverscape viewed from his home.
In the eponymous self-portrait edge of the forest
(2013) the artist ‘reveals himself’ partially camouflaged amongst the leaves of an oak tree. In larger canvases, such as girl with stick
(2013), he appears standing protectively with his daughter while she peers inquisitively at the viewer. Childish’s landscapes feature views of the river from his family home in Chatham, England, where the artist lives and works today. While incredibly personal, the location also holds literary and historical relevance; it is just six miles south from the town where the protagonist Charles Marlow begins his tale in Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness, which Childish has repeatedly quoted as an influence.
Childish cites the masters of early modernism as collaborators. Elements of Edvard Munch’s can be seen in this new work, as well as earlier masters such as Eugène Delacroix and art school friend and peer Peter Doig. In this way, a commonality of spirit with these artists is given precedence over contemporary notions of ‘originality’. Childish merges the past and present, the exotic and the familiar into a highly charged and personal imagery of his own.
Press release courtesy Lehmann Maupin.