Hastings Contemporary, a new, independent art gallery will open 6 July 2019. Set on the historic Stade on the seafront in Hastings, the gallery will champion international modern and contemporary art exploring all art forms commencing with a particular focus on the medium of painting.
To celebrate its launch, Hastings Contemporary will open with two major exhibitions: Tal R: eventually all museums will be ships and Roy Oxlade: Shine Out Fair Sun.
Tal R: eventually all museums will be ships will explore the work of international contemporary artist Tal R and reveal new works. Tal R works with a wide range of media from painting to textile design, sculpture to video art, and he constantly renews and enriches his artistic practice and way of working. Known for his unique ability to experiment, reinterpret and create afresh, Tal R is a versatile artist whose work explores and takes inspiration from his surroundings. The exhibition title, which both befits the iconic, ancient fishing beach flanking Hastings Contemporary and recent evolution of the gallery to its new independent status, is a nod to the content of the exhibition and also a poetic reference to the artist’s creative process.
Roy Oxlade: Shine Out Fair Sun will be the first major public gallery exhibition of British artist Roy Oxlade (1924-2014). Described in the Guardian as ‘one of the most impressive British painters of the past 50 years’, Roy Oxlade was an artist, art writer and highly influential teacher. Oxlade’s approach to painting was instinctual, energetic and bold and he was well known for his powerful use of colour.
Roy Oxlade: Shine Out Fair Sun will feature work from over 50 years of Oxlade’s artistic output, including some of his earliest paintings produced in the 1950s while studying under David Bomberg, alongside Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff. This exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to encounter a prolific and previously overlooked artist’s vision that impressed many of his students and contemporaries. Oxlade believed that art should be rooted in nature and the artist’s immediate surroundings, taking inspiration from the objects of daily life, ‘things, trees, houses, cats, people’. In keeping with this belief, Oxlade’s work reflects his everyday life living and working alongside his wife and fellow artist Rose Wylie RA on the South East coast of England not far from Hastings.
Both Tal R and Roy Oxlade are credited with invigorating the rich painterly tradition through their creativity and teaching and influencing the next generation of artists. Hastings Contemporary’s inaugural exhibition in turn brings together two artists who knew of each other and admired the other’s work from afar. Speaking in 2008, Oxlade remarked that Tal R “continues to be one of the best and most promising of today's artists.”
On the choice of Hastings Contemporary’s inaugural artists, Director Liz Gilmore stated: “We are excited to launch Hastings Contemporary with major exhibitions of Tal R and Roy Oxlade alongside one-room display of David Bomberg and our Artist Patron Sir Quentin Blake. The extraordinary talents, abundant creativity and intuitive approach of each artist, fly the flag for painting and rather poignantly mark the journey of Hastings Contemporary as it sets sail in new waters. We’re excited to be launching this new chapter in Hastings history and to continue to bring world-class exhibitions to our cherished sea-side town.”
Alongside these two major presentations, Hastings Contemporary will also present Roy Oxlade & David Bomberg a display exploring the relationship between teacher and student through the works of David Bomberg (1890-1957) and his student Roy Oxlade. The display, made possible by a partnership with the prestigious, private collection of Daniel Katz, will showcase a number of key works by David Bomberg that explore two of his main artistic themes: portraiture and landscape alongside early works by Roy Oxlade that illustrate Bomberg’s influence on the young artist. Both artists with their own distinct practice, Bomberg and Oxlade shared a number of ideas: they both believed that objects and places should be central to an artist’s approach and rejected traditional academic teaching.
Sir Quentin Blake (b. 1932), has had a home in Hastings for nearly 40 years and has continuously supported the gallery. He is Hastings Contemporary’s first Artist Patron and has produced new works for the opening of the gallery. For this new exhibitionQuentin Blake: The New Dress, Blake has responded to the transformation of the gallery by producing a series of delicate sketchbook drawings of characters exploring transformation and structure via fashioned outfits. All works featured have been produced using graphite on paper.
Tal R: eventually all museums will be ships
6 July – 13 October 2019
Image: The Hungarian, 2019, oil on canvas © Paradis/Tal R – Copenhagen, and Victoria Miro – London/Venice, photographer: Anders Sune Berg
Roy Oxlade: Shine Out Fair Sun
6 July – 6 October 2019
Image: Lemon Squeezer, 1987, oil on canvas, private collection © Estate of Roy Oxlade, courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery
Roy Oxlade & David Bomberg
6 July – 6 October 2019
Image: David Bomberg, The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda, oil on panel, 1935 Courtesy of Daniel Katz
Quentin Blake: The New Dress
6 July – 6 October 2019
Image: From The New Dress sketchbook series 2019, graphite on paper © Quentin Blake
Gallery photo © Iona Marinescu