The Art of Stephen Harwood: Visions of England – New Paintings inspired by the films of Derek Jarman will be at The Atlantis Bookshop, in London, from May 10th through 24th, 2014, with a private viewing on May 9th at 6pm, if you can get on the guest list, probably by contacting The Atlantis Bookshop directly, or heading over to the public event listing.
Stephen Harwood, a former pupil of David Hockney, is an artist exploring landscape and Englishness. His paintings fall somewhere between reality and fiction, focusing on locations that may be said to be loaded with past narratives and associations, landscape that in some way contains both the past and the present.
Stephen’s latest exhibition, Visions of England takes inspiration from the landscapes that feature in Derek Jarman’s films, and visits the empty expanse of Dungeness with it’s looming power station, the bucolic romanticism of Jarman’s Journey to Avebury, and the ruined urban wastelands of the Last of England. ‘I am interested in place that is in some way persuasive, with qualities that may not be immediately identifiable or explicable’.
It is the shaky spontaneous nature of Derek Jarman’s Super-8’s that form the backbone and much of the raw material for Harwood’s new work. In his hands the imagery from these films become archetypes for locality and Englishness.
There is magic in the air too, for Harwood is interested in an occult underpinning to Englishness ‘I also draw on locations possessed by occult atmospheres, or associated with myth and legend’. Jarman was himself interested in England’s mystical undercurrents, and it is fitting that the exhibition is being held in the basement of the Atlantis Bookshop in Bloomsbury, purveyors of mysterious books and magical tomes since 1922, and a regular haunt of Jarman’s.
Harwood’s previous exhibitions have focused on the landscapes of his childhood, and the current work is perhaps a further homage to Harwood’s own past. As a teenager Stephen corresponded with Derek and was a fan of his films. The resulting paintings are therefore perhaps emblematic of Harwood’s own experience. [via]