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Road (Western Maine)

162 x 269.7 cm. (63 3⁄4 x 106 1⁄8 in.)
Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Sotheby's London, 17 October 2014, lot 11
(By whom acquired from the above in 2009)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Senior Vice President, Deputy Head of Department


‘‘I had always felt a double-edged thing about who I was and where I came from.
In Trinidad I could be all these things, I was the Englishman, but I was also the
Jamaican. It was an interesting place to explore this no man’s land, you could kind of drift back and forwards between these identities’ - Hurvin Anderson

Offering an enchanting landscape of vivid organ and verdant greens, Road (Western Main) is an exemplary piece that is testament to Hurvin Anderson’s remarkable painterly facture. Washes of riveting, fiery orange charges through the foreground and transmogrify into the lush, viridescent vegetations, and submerges distant figures in a spectral shadow. The thrusting vibrant warm tones juxtapose against the soft blue sky that floats above with an almost celestial purity — creating a dynamic that’s electrifying yet serene. Along with the artist’s brilliant manipulation of translucent atmospheric glazes, the quotidian road exudes a mysterious allure that transforms the supposedly mundane subject matter into an intriguingly captivating scene.

Over the past few years, the artist has established himself as one of the foremost painters among his contemporaries with recent solo exhibitions at Thomas Dane gallery and The Arts Club of Chicago and major mid-career exhibition at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Taking a modern approach on “Arcadia”, Anderson’s technical ingenuity and conceptual dialogue has propelled the British contemporary landscape scene into the 21st Century.

It was in 1998 that Anderson completed his MA at the Royal College of Art in London. There, he had studied under Peter Doig: an artist similarly inspired by concepts of memory and displacement. For both painters, Canada and the Caribbean came to function as key points of reference. Whilst Doig had spent parts of his childhood between these landscapes, the young Anderson felt himself a stranger to both.

In 2002 Anderson spent a formative sojourn in Trinidad as part of an artist’s residency programme at Caribbean Contemporary Arts; following in the footsteps of his former teacher Peter Doig, he undertook an artist’s residency on Trinidad, where he took the photographs that inspired the present work and its companions. The artist recalled “What had the greatest impact on me was how I existed there. I was British one moment, Jamaican the next. If they didn’t know who I was, I could have been Trinidadian. So I existed in all these different places… It was intriguing to not exist anywhere”. Road (Western Main) encapsulates layers of the artist’s intimate memories and associations, while engaging the viewers to take on the position of a detached observer. The result is a poetically poignant picture that belies the ostensibly quotidian scene. Everyday life on the island began to inform the subjects of many of the artist’s paintings produced on his return to the UK the following year; the opulent landscape of Road (Western Main) firmly belongs to this vivid group of works. Affirming that although: “memory is the trigger. I will start from an idea about a place”. Anderson finds further inspiration from photographic sources: “I tried to work in the studio but it was too much, being away and stuck in a studio. So I opted for taking photographs, for seeing what the place was about”. Indeed, Anderson’s contemporary at the Royal College of Art, Peter Doig, employs a similar artistic method, combining memory and photography. In both their painterly technique and formal compositional structure, the oeuvres of these two painters are intimately entwined.

For Anderson, the confluence of places real and imaginary is fuelled by his approach to his source material. ‘Anderson told me that despite the biographical elements in his work, he feels it’s vital to create a distance from the original photographs in order to uncover what he describes as “something inherent in the picture”’, explains Jennifer Higgie (writer and co-editor of Frieze). ‘What this something is he is still working out, via a process of photocopying, collage, drawing and painting – techniques that echo the layering and re-working of memory itself’. The play of paint, colour, texture and form, like the wanderings of a daydream, ultimately becomes a means of reconciling distance.

Anderson’s wide-ranging dialogue with art history may be understoodin terms of this rootlessness. Multi-lingual influences collide in thedepths of the present work: from geometric abstraction and ColourField painting to the lost paradises of Paul Gauguin and Doig’s ownfilmic memory-spaces. In certain lights, it quivers with overtones ofExpressionist psycho-drama: an abandoned dystopia reminiscent ofEdvard Munch. Weaving together multiple narratives yet aligning itselfwith none, the work is a hybrid structure that – like Anderson’s ownsense of self – sits in the gap between reality and imagination.

更多来自 二十及二十一世纪艺术晚间拍卖:艺行者