17 March – 14 June 2015, Gallery 7
Rarely-seen art works inspired by nature have been selected by Turner Prize nominated painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye for an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery this spring.
Drawn from the V-A-C collection, Moscow, it includes works by Peter Doig, David Hockney, Gary Hume and Andy Warhol, and is the third in a series of four collection displays at the Whitechapel Gallery.
The artist has chosen still life paintings, photographs and a film depicting flora, fauna and people interacting with the natural world. Highlights include David Hockney’s 30 Sunflowers (1996), a vibrant, richly coloured, still life painting of sunflowers standing in vases on a red table. Part of a series, Hockney depicts flowers at various stages of life, drawing parallels withthe human life cycle. Peter Doig’s atmospheric, large-scale painting Green Trees (1998) depicts an imagined lush woodland area while Gary Hume’s Garden Painting #2 (1996), an enamel paint on aluminium art work, portrays a hand reaching for a small leaf in muted greens and blues.
The presentation, titled Natures, Natural and Unnatural, also includes a video by Estonian artist Jaan Toomik, Dancing with Dad (2003), which shows the artist dancing in sunlit woodlands where his father was buried,as the artist never had the opportunity to dance with his father when he was alive. Black and white photographs by Russian photographer Nikolay Bakharev capturing men, women and children posing in natural environments such as dense forests and Andy Warhol’s brightly coloured screen-print of a cow are also on display.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (b.1977) is a contemporary artist renowned for her oil paintings of people conjured from her imagination, drawings and scrapbooks of found images. Shealludes to traditions of historical, figurative paintings through her canvases, which are each completed in a single day. The stories behind her subjects are often hard to decipher – the clothing is not specific to a time, the setting is ambiguous and sometimes even the gender of the individual is uncertain. She says: “The works that I was drawn to in the V-A-C Collection, or really caught my eye, all had a link to nature or still life or, a combination of the two. The title of the display refers to the idea of nature, and the different types of nature – the nature you walk out into in the wilderness, nature that you bring into the house, human nature, people interacting with nature and also the nature within a person. I wanted to think about all of those things in the selection.”
This exhibition highlights the V-A-C collection, Moscow, as part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s programme of opening up rarely seen collections from around the world, supported by Hiscox. The series of four displays, which began in September 2014, are shown in a dedicated Collections Gallery. The final exhibitions of works drawn from the collection will be selected in partnership with James Richards (23 June – 30 August 2015). Each presentation is accompanied by a unique publication devised by the artist selector.
The V-A-C collection brings together a range of important art works including sculptures, paintings and photographs from leading, internationally recognised artists such as Francis Bacon, Liz Deschenes, Natalia Goncharova, Wade Guyton, Wassily Kandinsky, Lucy McKenzie, Amedeo Modigliani, Sigmar Polke to Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley, Egon Schiele, Dayanita Singh and Christopher Wool
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