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    Sale 11797

    Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction

    29 June 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 3

    Hurvin Anderson (b. 1965)

    Untitled (Lower Lake)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Hurvin Anderson (b. 1965)
    Untitled (Lower Lake)
    signed with the artist's signature and dated, 'HurvinA Oct 2005' (on the overlap)
    oil on canvas
    59 1/8 x 102 1/8in. (150.2 x 259.2cm.)
    Painted in 2005


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    ‘Lower Lake (2005) was inspired by the island in the middle of Handsworth Park; it was, he told me, the first landscape he felt connected to, a place that exists yet is just out of reach – a sense of dislocation that is, perhaps, something experienced by many first and second-generation migrants. The composition of the painting recalls the various version of the Isle of the Dead made by the great Romantic painter Arnold Böcklin, between 1880 and 1886; Anderson’s version is, perhaps, less literally melancholic, but still, its washes of pale lilac stir up a wistfulness and a longing, the object of which is not made explicit’

    —J. HIGGIE

    ‘With their lack of crowds and mood of solitude and introspection, [Anderson’s] paintings make clear how central reverie is to him; he has long been influenced in the great masters of leisure – in particular, Seurat and Monet’s near-forensic exploration of the innate abstraction of the natural world. However, despite their beauty, Anderson’s paintings of parks emanate a certain melancholy detachment; it’s as if he’s examining these sites from a great distance even though they’re part of his heritage’

    —J. HIGGIE

    ‘The new paintings, made in London where Anderson now lives, evoke “another country”, the part of his past spent in Handsworth. This is the Birmingham district renowned for considerable unrest due to racial issues in the early 1980s, which he lived through – and this certainly informs the way we read his work – but instead of riots and violence we see quiet, relatively empty locations. These are the streets, parks and other public (in-between) places where the artist as a young man walked and met with friends, played football or simply hung around. They haunt him, like the sun, sea and palm trees of the Caribbean, and he returns to them through an artistic practice that is knowingly nostalgic’

    —J. WATKINS


    Rendered with deliquescent swathes of paint that dissolve and intermingle in shimmering vertical bands, Hurvin Anderson’s monumentally-scaled Untitled (Lower Lake) occupies a definitive place in his nostalgic painterly practice. Painted in 2005, the work belongs to a series of canvases depicting the island in the middle of Handsworth Park in Birmingham, where the artist grew up. Born to Jamaican parents, who settled in the Midlands following their emigration to the UK, Anderson spent much of his youth wandering the city’s green spaces, dreaming of the Caribbean shores he had never known. Described to Jennifer Higgie as ‘the first landscape he felt connected to’, this lone island, densely packed with trees and foliage, is at once familiar and tantalizingly exotic; a vision of British suburbia that might just, in the right light, offer a glimpse of a distant land. A former student of Peter Doig – whose own practice is deeply rooted in reverie and dislocation – Anderson works from photographs and memories, reprinting, drawing and collaging them to create a composite, fractured image of reality. Created in London, shortly after his return from a prestigious artist’s residency on Trinidad, the present work merges hazy recollections of the artist’s youth with the incandescent visual language inspired by his first taste of the tropics. In places, the paint drips down the length of the canvas like rain splattered upon a window pane, whilst pale, translucent washes of colour transform the scene into a veiled, watery reflection. Elsewhere, this mirage-like effect is counteracted by intricately-wrought branches, sharp and precise, like moments of clarity within a clouded daydream. Included in the artist’s 2013 solo exhibition Hurvin Anderson: reporting back at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, the work testifies to Anderson’s celebrated mastery of paint, whilst simultaneously expressing the oneiric sense of longing that characterises his practice.

    Throughout his oeuvre, Anderson has transformed sites of leisure – parks, tennis courts, cafes and barbershops – into extensions of his own wandering psyche. ‘With their lack of crowds and mood of solitude and introspection’, writes Higgie, ‘his paintings make clear how central reverie is to him; he has long been influenced in the great masters of leisure – in particular, Seurat and Monet’s near-forensic exploration of the innate abstraction of the natural world. However, despite their beauty, Anderson’s paintings of parks emanate a certain melancholy detachment; it’s as if he’s examining these sites from a great distance even though they’re part of his heritage’ (J. Higgie, ‘Another word for feeling’, in Hurvin Anderson: reporting back, exh. cat., Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2013, pp. 13-14). A quiet, barely perceptible sense of foreboding pervades the Lower Lake works, inviting comparisons not only with Doig’s landmark series of canoe paintings – inspired by the horror film Friday 13th – but also with Arnold Böcklin’s seminal nineteenth-century cycle of meditations on the Isle of the Dead. As Jonathan Watkins has pointed out, the district of Handsworth was a site of racial conflict during Anderson’s youth – a memory deeply ingrained in the artist’s consciousness. However, as he explains, ‘instead of riots and violence we see quiet, relatively empty locations. These are the streets, parks and other public (in-between) places where the artist as a young man walked and met with friends, played football or simply hung around. They haunt him, like the sun, sea and palm trees of the Caribbean, and he returns to them through an artistic practice that is knowingly nostalgic’ (J. Watkins, ‘Foreword’, in Hurvin Anderson: reporting back, exh. cat., Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2013, p. 9).

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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    Provenance

    Thomas Dane Gallery, London.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005.


    Pre-Lot Text

    WORKS FROM THE COLLECTION OF GORDON WATSON


    Exhibited

    London, Thomas Dane Gallery, Hurvin Anderson: New Paintings, 2005, no. 4 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
    Birmingham, Ikon Gallery, Hurvin Anderson: reporting back, 2013, p. 136 (illustrated in colour, pp. 66-67).