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  • FLOWER POWER BLOOMS LARGE AT HALCYON GALLERY’S ‘IN PLAIN SIGHT’ EXHIBITION

    David Hockney, Bob Dylan, Paul Cummins MBE, Dominic Harris, Pedro Paricio, and Ernesto Cánovas all feature, as London embraces summertime.

    Halcyon Gallery is celebrating summer with an exhibition featuring renowned artists displaying works that are united by two themes: florals and figure studies. In Plain Sight is on view at the gallery’s flagship exhibition space at 148 New Bond Street until July 7.

    The exhibition explores diverse stylistic and technical approaches, from David Hockney’s vivid tulips created on an iPad to Bob Dylan’s energetic portrayal of sunflowers in watercolour and Dominic Harris’ digital flowers, continually rolling through their cycles of bloom.

    Hockney, Dylan, Harris, accompanied by Paul Cummins MBE and Pedro Paricio each depict the floral subject in strikingly different ways. Seen in a shared space, these pieces appear to be in dialogue, competing with one another as they elucidate each artist’s distinct vision.

    In the words of David Hockney, “Pictures influence pictures, but pictures also make us see things that we might not otherwise see.”  In Plain Sight invites the viewer to pause and find an appreciation of beauty in the everyday.

    Halcyon artist Cummins, who created the extraordinary installation of ceramic Poppies at the Tower of London in 2014, is showcasing his unique approach to the representation of flowers in the mediums of painting and sculpture. His sculpture Florian consists of elaborate handmade porcelain white roses that are woven into an intricate circle, reinforcing the traditional symbol of purity. The complex interplay of shadows evokes the light patterns created by stained glass rose windows in gothic churches, thereby inverting the conventional concept of a rose window.

    Cummins’ floral paintings in mixed media on paper are also being exhibited for the first time. These pieces are conceived from the artist’s studies of his homegrown flowers, photographed at every stage of their development. The paintings capture the sublime effect of bloom, with their petals dispersing to reveal effervescent splendour.

    Paricio, whose piece Tulips forms part of the exhibition, says: “I’ve always been captivated by colours, by their sheer power, and nature serves as the ultimate source as I expand my kaleidoscopic universe. That’s why I’m drawn to landscapes and flowers, the masters of colour. Is there anything more exquisite than a flower in bloom?

    “Another significant source of inspiration for Tulips is Hockney, whom I directly associate with Impressionism and Monet, one of my most revered artists. Since Monet, no one other than Hockney has managed to encapsulate the force of nature through colour, and the way it dances in the air, ever-changing.”

    Among the artworks on show by leading digital artist Dominic Harris is a never-before-seen piece which reflects the central narrative of In Plain Sight: the beauty of the everyday. NeoBloom shows constantly blooming flowers, mesmerising in their perpetuality.

    “In the NeoBloom series, I delve into the enduring beauty and symbolic depth of flowers, capturing their peak moments of bloom without the eventual decline into decay,” Harris reveals. “These flowers are not static; they are designed to interact with the viewer. Their presence triggers a ‘big bloom’ – a moment of dramatic transformation where the flower releases its petals in a breath-taking display before regrowing, symbolising rebirth and eternal renewal.

    “This cycle invites viewers to reflect on the concepts of time and permanence. It challenges the traditional view of art as a fixed point and instead presents it as a dynamic participant in the space it inhabits.”

    Neobloom hangs alongside an immersive space which features an interactive environment of digitally hand painted butterflies, entitled Spectrum.

    “In Spectrum, I explore themes of order and chaos by creating a kaleidoscopic array of my hand-painted butterfly specimens to alluring effect,” he says. “By touching the butterflies on screen, viewers disrupt the order and introduce chaos, causing the butterflies to take flight, thus losing the inherent geometry of the piece. In time, the butterflies settle back to their concentric circles and order is restored.

    “The circular motif, with vivid jewel-bright colour, revisits themes of transformation and perpetual movement and makes reference to the natural life cycle of the butterfly.”

    Figure studies are also represented, with the immediacy of Bob Dylan’s loose technique juxtaposed by Paricio’s rhythmical stylisation of the human form. Unlike Dylan, who in these works seems to capture his subject at the very moment of seeing, Paricio is inspired by the great portraits of art history, appropriating motifs, gestures, and expressions, and incorporating them into his unique, contemporary visual language. Paricio’s series, entitled 9 Portraits, which he created in 2023, is exhibited for the first time outside his native Canary Islands.

    The collection, which the artist himself has defined as “paintings with a pop look, but classic spirit”, was first showcased at the Mapfre Foundation in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria last year. Paricio transforms expressive moments, represented in portraits by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Mary Cassatt and Artemisia Gentileschi, into lively designs. By removing the faces from the portraits that have inspired him, he removes their individuality, so that the 17th-century portrait becomes a representation of universal humanity.

    Revealing his inspiration for the series, Paricio says: “Art is an endless pursuit, and the genre of portraiture, steeped in history, offers a profound exploration of the human experience which always seems to ask ‘Who are we?’

    “With 9 Portraits the focus lies on women, as I aim to elevate the central role that women have played in the arts, both as subjects on canvas and as artists themselves, reclaiming their mastery alongside some of the most renowned masters.”

    Ernesto Cánovas’ latest series of monumental paintings will also be on show. This work is his most ambitious to date, manipulating photographs and medium to represent memories which imply an

    unfolding narrative. The artworks appear dreamlike, with the hazy subject matter an abstract representation of found materials. On closer inspection, the subject reveals itself, beneath the layers of vinyl and acrylic that have been meticulously built up by hand; figures and objects soon take centre stage.

    Cánovas says: “The artworks on display in In Plain Sight are inspired by the principles or elements of Jazz Music. Harmony, syncopation, swing (movement) and creative freedom.

    “Musicians like Miles Davis, Sonny Red and Krzysztof Komeda, between many others, show us how, with syncopation and changes of flow, you can create something memorable.“In this case, my wife Gracjana and I ‘played’ together replacing notes with colours and beats with layers in order to create the installation in the gallery, which features some of my large-scale works alongside Gracjana’s pleated fabric sculptures, Fragments and Symphonies. Simultaneously, two or more rhythms, styles and layers create unified polyrhythms.”

    In Plain Sight is on view at Halcyon Gallery’s flagship at 148 New Bond Street, until July 7.

    https://www.halcyongallery.com/

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