Exhibition Dates: 10 – 26 September 2009
Stuart Cumberland has, more consistently and for longer than practically any one else in the UK, maintained a flirtation with the visual power of Modernist painting. He enjoys the possibilities opened up by an almost endless expressive recombination of artistic styles and statements. His paintings are a satisfying mix of knowing, disciplined gestural abstraction and a riot of referential ambiguities.
Cumberland creates large-scale paintings that are at once monumental and casual, inspired primarily by post-war American and German painting. For COMMA, Cumberland created a series of six new ambitiously large oil paintings. Each consists of three distinct layers -Benday dots in cyan, magenta and yellow, a layer of recurring motifs comprising squiggles, circles and triangles and finally large expansive rectangles of white applied with a roller. Cumberland has used this vocabulary of shapes for a number of years. They began as body parts and have evolved into a series of unconscious gestures painted with brush, spatula and edge of a window cleaning tool.
Cumberland paints in series with the intent to humorously communicate specific themes, for the most part relating to Sigmund Freud’s idea of ‘sublimation’ – the channelling of ‘lower’ sexual urges into ‘higher’ aims such as art or science.
Stuart Cumberland (b. Wokingham, UK 1970) lives and works in London.
About COMMA: Launched in March 2009, COMMA is a dynamic new series of commissions enabling artists to experiment and expand their practice in relation to Bloomberg SPACE and its communities. Over thirty of today’s most outstanding emerging and established international artists will be invited to create new work, installations and architectural interventions in a fast paced succession of exhibitions. The program is curated by David Risley, Graham Gussin, Stephen Hepworth, Sacha Craddock and Vanessa Desclaux.
COMMA at Bloomberg SPACE, reflects the core principles of innovation, engagement, adventurous creativity and education central to Bloomberg’s reputation for arts sponsorship.