CURRENTLY SHOWING until May 2019 : ‘Forces of Nature’ at Mishcon de Reya, Africa House, 70 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6AH
Viewing by appointment: contact studio[at]anthonywhishaw.com
Anthony Whishaw, ‘Forces of Nature’
Anthony Whishaw studied at Chelsea School of Art from1948 to1952 and the Royal College of Art, London from 1952 to 1955, when he was awarded the ARCA (first class hons), the RCA Travelling Scholarship, and Abbey Minor Scholarship and a Spanish Government Scholarship. Whishaw has been producing challenging, thought provoking paintings for well over 60 years but, not being aligned to any of the contemporary groups or schools, his work cannot be conveniently categorised. Over this long period he has fiercely guarded his independence. He has been awarded numerous prizes and is displayed in museums and collections all over the world from the Tate to the Royal Collection.
'Natural Forces' has been specially curated for Mishcon de Reya by Selina Skipwith from a body of work painted over the last 15 years drawing on Whishaw's fascination with the natural and urban environment. Viewed close up one becomes lost in the abstract details of these mesmerising patterns; stand back and a flooded landscape, a sunken city or a tidal surge of debris appear. Often short vertical lines may temporarily provide way-markers and points of orientation to guide our gaze across and through these turbulent waters, but these are quickly lost within the overall play of dark and light.
Whishaw’s work is challenging – he makes the viewer work hard to interpret his warping and skewing of space and form and he acknowledges that he explores unusual visual languages, employing illusion and allusion. He often works on his paintings over a period of many years, making alterations and additions as he lives with the canvases. At the age of 88, Whishaw still paints daily and is working towards a number of exhibitions to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2020.
Selina Skipworth, curator