Studioscape: Central London presents the works of three contemporary artists who set up their studios in Central London.
Although not often cited as one of the main hubs of artistic creation, amid the tourists of Green Park, the theatre goers of Soho and the departing trains at Waterloo, there hide some exceptional pockets of creativity, with artists establishing their studios in exciting locations.
In this edition of Studioscapes we will be presenting the works of Rebecca Salter whose studio, as Keeper of the Royal Academy, sits at the very heart of Burlington House and is, in fact, the only Royal Academician to be allocated a studio there; Des Lawrence, who creates his thought-provoking portraits from Soho, a stone’s throw away from Soho House Greek Street; Bea Bonafini, who interweaves the narratives of carpet inlays, blending figuration and abstraction, aggression and desire, from her artist co-op studio in Waterloo, a ten-minute walk away from Tate Modern.
The Studioscape project is born out of the conviction that a collector’s journey should always begin through a deep and sincere connection to the artist’s creative and thought process. For this reason we believe that studio visits, even more than an exhibition or a catalogue essay, will create the perfect conditions for establishing such connections. We encourage those interested in this project to be in touch through emailing [email protected].
The studio tours are paired with an online only exhibition of the artists’ works, to give those interested to explore the artworks in a flexible manner, through images, essays and artist interviews, which will contextualise their oeuvre.
Rebecca Salter “An understanding of the power of white space is fundamental to eastern art and it is hard not to be drawn in by it if you are living in Japan. The idea of ‘empty’ space not being ‘empty’ but full of potential is very compelling. The repeated marks/gestures which cover the surface of my work appear obsessive but strangely the constant activity can result in a sense of stability or calm. My work appears to be very grey and monotone but in fact in many paintings there is bright colour underneath and it is only when your eyes have time to relax and settle, that the underlying comes through. So perhaps this is a plea to spend more time looking at art.”
Des Lawrence “Like On Kawara’s date paintings, I was looking for something that would endlessly generate images, to the point that the ideas would almost choose themselves. It occurred to me that the nearest equivalent to what I wanted was to be something akin to being a newspaper editor, bringing disparate ideas together to make a whole. So if I thought about it from that point of view, how a daily newspaper works, it could be the key to me making art. [But] perhaps like many would-be conceptualists, I’m aware of also being a bit of a closeted romantic. Am I allowed to be interested in both polarities at the same time (like Castorp in Mann’s The Magic Mountain). Can it have something at stake that reflects contemporary society and be melancholically animistic? If I’m allowed I’ll have it all.”
Bea Bonafini “I think of my work as being active. I think of it as having its own rules. I see how people approach the work with caution – initially assessing what the work is demanding from them and how they should behave around it, before relaxing into its softness and subject matter. When entering someone’s home for the first time, our movements are more delicate and our body moves with a different consciousness, before understanding the new rules and system of logic, and relaxing into it. Not unlike stepping into a new home, I want my work to construct a space in which you are more aware of your surroundings, which has a sort of specific spirituality, which is composed of layers, details and a safe comfort. The most urgent prompt was to explore ways in which my artworks can themselves desire intimacy, as opposed to merely depicting it.”