Magazine of art press and reviews from London
David Franchi – Saturday, 20th December 2014
Trees and Archives is an interesting exhibition, at Ben Brown Fine Arts, London. Made of fifteen large scale works by British artist Tony Bevan, the Ben Brown Fine Arts exhibition displays works of refined graphics with simple style. Reminding the Chinese approach to painting, from which Bevan takes inspiration, ‘Trees and Archives’ is a research into these two themes, trees and archives.
As per the Asian art style which invites to meditation, the rarefied figures depicted are a clever blend of old Chinese style brought into a Modern solution. The body of work of Tony Bevan relies on the irregular quality of charcoal and the vividness of his own pure acrylic pigments. Bevan presses charcoal into the pores of not stretched canvases on the floor of his Deptford studio. He creates fragments and flakes that are fixed with the acrylic medium. This technique gives a particular effect: watching the canvas from far it seems made of one only pictures, while approaching the painting it emerges it is made of small pieces and crumble.
Whilst travelling in China between 2007 and 2008, the artist came across an ancient tree in the courtyard of a temple in the district of Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province, and he felt irremediably attracted by its forms and the architectural potential, together with the ancestral associations of the plant.
The Archives 2014 is the Bevan’s latest series. It is clearly inspired by the work of Jorge Luis Borges. It depicts a grid of bookshelves expanding to the edges of the canvas and beyond, invoking the surreal atmosphere of Borges’ text.
Tony Bevan (born 1951) studied at the Bradford School of Art (1968–71), Goldsmiths’ College (1971–74) and the
Slade School of Fine Art (1974–76). Since 1976, Bevan has exhibited widely, holding his first solo exhibition U.S. shows at Ronald Feldman Gallery in 1988 and L.A. Louver in 1989. Bevan has also exhibited at the ICA, London, (1987-88), Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst Haus der Kunst, Munich (1989), Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1993), and the Kunsthalle, Kiel (1988). A major retrospective was presented by the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain (2005).
In March 2007, Tony Bevan was elected as a Royal Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. His work is included in many prominent international collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Gallery, London.
Founded in 2004, Ben Brown Fine Arts prominently positioned itself on the contemporary art scene with the sole UK representation of artists and it is also renowned for its strong expertise in 20th Century Italian Art.
‘Trees and Archives’ exhibition by Tony Bevan is ongoing, at Ben Brown Fine Arts, Mayfair, London, until 3rd January 2015.