“Without light, no substance. From Giotto to Chardin and beyond, light illuminates, caresses and melts, conveying the most fleeting and deepest of feelings.” (Anthony Eyton RA)
Eleven Spitalfields present their new gallery space with a group exhibition of work by artists Anthony Eyton RA, Julie Held, and photographer Clarisse d’Arcimoles. The exhibition is accompanied by a gallery publication entitled ‘Compendium’, with a foreword by Edwin Heathcote, architecture critic of The Financial Times
Anthony Eyton RA - Eyton inherited a sense of light from his mother, the painter Phyllis Eyton. For the viewer, the meaning of Eyton’s work often seems ambiguous: is the painter communicating the intensity of the subject, or is light itself in fact the real subject? For Eyton, nature - or the symbiosis of substance and light - galvanises him into action. He prefers painting with oils, using a full palette, from Titanium White to deepest Black. The Brick Wall, 2000, is a brick-for-brick portrait denoting its subtle changes over time. It was painted from a distance of six feet and is a forensic exploration of light, revealing the tactile reality of the bricks themselves.
Eyton also turns his attention to another brick edifice, this time the gargantuan Battersea Power Station. Eyton painted the vast structure daily for several months, capturing the light filtering through to the rusting machinery within. Two pictures in this exhibition depict the chimneys seen through the latticework of iron girders, one in sunlight and one on a grey day. Both vividly convey the building’s mysterious, luminous presence.
Julie Held - For Held, life is akin to a tapestry, a series of interconnecting warps and wefts. The recurring theme which has preoccupied her throughout her working life is the idea of fusing apparent opposites. Held paints a liminal world somewhere between imagination and reality, mediated by experience.
Drawing remains at the heart of Held’s practice, whether working drawings for painting or stand-alone works.
London remains at the heart of Held’s subject matter – lives lived, the extraordinary and the ordinary jostling for recognition. This reflects her experience as a first generation child born of refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. Clash of cultures are more to do with big money and the everyday person.
Held’s work offers interlocking motifs - the shop window, the florist, friends, family. Working at different times of the day and night, she captures different lights and palettes, evoking what is strange and familiar, transmuting her subjects in the process.
The work in this exhibition explores this sense of ‘seamless dislocation’ that is the essence of the fragile cycle of our lives.
Clarisse D’Arcimoles - This exhibition comprises three parts: ‘I Wish you all’ is an installation inspired by The Queen’s Christmas broadcasts dating back to 1957 - investigating how The Queen's annual Christmas message has reflected on world events and social upheavals over six decades of change. ‘Forgotten Tale’ is inspired by a 1902 black and white photograph of a poverty-stricken family of hairbrush makers from Spitalfields.
The artist has painstakingly reconstructed authentic domestic details, inviting the viewer, like Alice, to step through the picture frame and be transported back to the Victorian era. The third element is a collection of appropriated Victorian cabinet cards. Entitled ‘Forget Nostalgia’, the artist casts herself as a sitter, recreating the mood of Victorian portraiture through costume, tinted make-up and pose, an intriguing way of experiencing time through a different medium.