Collecting Contemporary Art [Part 4: André Stitt – Sonic Abstract Paintings]

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WINTER ALLOY (2011) with artist André Stitt, oil on linen, 180 x 250 cms

 

What does a painting sound like? If we look at the latest Prog rock series by André Stitt, then we should brace ourselves for a dynamic pulsating rhythm exploding across the canvas. The paintings are born from pumping sonic beats into his studio; they radiate gestural brush-marks with vibrant spine-tingling sensations of colour. Aside from the strong surface qualities, the depth of a Stitt painting is hypnotically absorbing. The viewer becomes seduced and lodged between the overlapping layers and rich texture.

The works will debut in Northern Ireland on 25 May in an international group exhibition at The Warning Art Gallery (located for one month in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast) and despite four weeks before the opening, Gallery Director Brian Nixon has already been inundated with pre-sales of Stitt paintings for the show.

INTO THE TRACELESS SOLITUDE OF AUTO-SUGGESTION (2010) André Stitt, oil on linen 120 x 120 cms

 

Born in Belfast in 1958, Stitt is considered one of the most controversial of all the leading contemporary artists in Europe. He is well known to the media for headline grabbing performances such as ‘White Trash Curry Kick’ where he kicked cartons of curry down Bedford High Street (England) – drawing attention to anti-social drinking behaviour; living in a cage for three days with a Dingo in Sydney (Australia) and the re-formation of the mythic psych-freak-beat band Panacea Society. Aside from his edgy art career, Stitt is also a highly respected academic. He is Professor of Performance and Interdisciplinary Art at Cardiff Metropolitan University and is also the director of the Centre for Fine Art Research at Cardiff School of Art & Design, Wales. Throughout his career he has exhibited across the globe from Bangkok to New York and also at the world’s premier fine art event, the Venice Biennale.

A predominate theme in his artistic output is that of communities and their dissolution, often relating to civil conflict and art as a redemptive proposition.

METABOLIC DISASTER AREA (2010) André Stitt, oil on linen 120 x 180 cms

 

Visiting the artist at his studio in April this year, the first observation is the impressive New York style scale. A large warehouse space is divided into three separate painting rooms. The light is exceptional and the space is thriving with the creative juices of an artist spurting out in every direction, with multiple paintings on the go simultaneously. Every mark on the canvas is performed like an action painting, the physicality of the process akin to the movements of an accomplished fencer swirling a sword through the air. Spontaneous and raw, the studio is a hive of glorious unapologetic experimentation.

The epic large-scale canvases offer ambiguous abstract space that invites the viewer into this strange but alluring world. On Friday 25 May, Belfast can expect one of the most magical multi-sensory experiences of the year. Upbeat. Playful. Subliminal. Meditative. Seductive. Intelligent. André Stitt is a pure genius.

A VAGUE COINCIDENCE IN A LANDSCAPE OF DETERIORATING EXPECTATIONS (2010) André Stitt, oil on linen 120 x 120 cms

 

EXHIBITION INFO

Professor Stitt will give a short introductory talk at 6:30pm on Friday 25 May at the Crescent Arts Centre in the gallery during the launch of ‘WARNING! This is Contemporary Art’. The exhibition will continue until Friday 15 June, Monday – Saturday, 10:30am to 5:30pm. Late night Fridays until 8pm. Please note this entire show is strictly limited to over 18s only. For further information on the debut of Stitt’s Prog rock series in Belfast please visit www.warningart.com/andrestitt.html or contact art dealer Brian Nixon at gallery@warningart.com

 

Image above: PROG LP – 6: HARVESTER [Kosmik Allotment] = THE LAW OF HISTORICAL MEMORY (2009) André Stitt, oil on linen 100 x 100 cms

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About Author

Born 1979 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Brendan Jamison studied for six years at the University of Ulster where he gained a BA Honours degree in Fine and Applied Arts in 2002 and then a Master of Fine Art in 2004. Over the past eight years, his sculptures have been widely exhibited throughout the world with shows in Scotland, Wales, England, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Italy, America, Canada, New Zealand, India and China. He has also been awarded residencies in New Delhi and New York. From 2006-2009, Jamison taught study skills coaching at Belfast's School of Art & Design. In 2009 he was a visting lecturer at the University of Florida. That same year, a small Jamison work was entered into the permanent collection of MoMA, New York's Museum of Modern Art, as part of the international unbound project titled 'A Book About Death'. In 2010, Jamison was commissioned by Native Land & Grosvenor to build sugar cube scale models of Tate Modern and NEO Bankside for the London Festival of Architecture. His carved sugar cube sculptures were later sold at Sotheby's (Bond Street, London) in an exhibition of contemporary art curated by Janice Blackburn. 2012 will see a carved sugar sculpture of Number 10 exhibited inside 10 Downing Street, London. Jamison has received six awards from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and is represented in Ireland by Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin. He is represented in the UK by the Golden Thread Gallery and Dickon Hall Gallery, Belfast. Jamison enjoys considerable world-wide media coverage for his sculpture practice, with significant reviews in Sculpture Magazine, published by the International Sculpture Center in America. Other notable reviews include The Washington Times, BBC Brasil, BBC News, ITV News and Channel 5 News in the UK, The Times, London Evening Standard and Metro newspapers in London, The Hindu and The Inside Track in India, The Jakarta Post in Indonesia and The Weekly News in Scotland. In Ireland he is regularly featured in the art magazines Circa and the Irish Arts Review. Jamison is also frequently discussed on BBC Radio Ulster and reviewed in local newspapers The Irish News, News Letter, South Belfast News and Belfast Telegraph.

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