Hales at Frieze London 2019
London, NW1 4NR
Preview days: 2 - 3 October 2019
Public days: 4 - 6 October 2019
Hales is delighted to announce its return to Frieze London for its 2019 edition, with a group presentation of esteemed artists from the gallery’s roster – Basil Beattie, Sunil Gupta, Gladys Nilsson, Carolee Schneemann and Anwar Jalal Shemza. Diverse in perspective and their respective practices, their work is being exhibited globally to much critical acclaim.
Basil Beattie RA (b. 1935 West Hartlepool, UK) has, over a practice spanning sixty years, formed a unique lexicon of pictorial imagery and gestural abstraction. In the late 1980s Beattie embarked on a new group of paintings which constituted a visual manifesto – establishing imagery and a painterly style that the artist has since become synonymous with. Legend (1986) was the first painting made in this pivotal series and was shown in a seminal show at Curwen Gallery in 1987. In the monumental painting, Beattie creates a grid of delineated boxes in which energetic brushstrokes threaten to burst out of the structure. In each section simple pictograms read as ladders, towers or arches – motifs he would return to throughout his career. Legend was included in Beattie’s major retrospective at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK (2016). He has had significant solo exhibitions at prestigious institutions such as Royal Academy and at Tate Britain, both UK.
Sunil Gupta (b. 1953 New Delhi, India) has maintained a visionary approach to photography, producing a rich body of work that has pioneered a unique social and political commentary. The series Tales of a City: Delhi (2004) developed from research into the historical sites of Delhi, specifically the time period 1638-1739, when Delhi was rebuilt as Shahjahanabad by the builder of the Taj Mahal. Gupta’s evocative photographs depict important intricate historical sites in the context of present-day life in India. Gupta is included in group exhibitions: Moving Still: Performative Photography from India at Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (2019); and Art After Stonewall: 1969-1989 at Frost Art Museum, Miami (September 2019-January 2020). In 2020, Gupta will be the subject of a touring retrospective, a collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery (London, UK) and the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto, Canada).
Gladys Nilsson (b. 1940 Chicago, IL, USA) first came to prominence as a member of the Hairy Who – a group of graduates from the Art Institute of Chicago - who amassed a cult following through a series of innovative exhibitions in the late 1960s. A Table (2014) depicts a playful narrative, masterfully executed in vibrant watercolour and characterised by a densely constructed composition, in which figures press up against the picture plane. Gladys Nilsson has recently been included in exhibitions: Hairy Who? (Art Institute Chicago, IL, USA), Outliers and American Vanguard Art (National Gallery of Art, D.C., USA, toured to: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, USA) and How Chicago! Imagists 1960s & 70s (Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, University of London, London, UK, toured to: De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea, East Sussex, UK).
Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939, Fox Chase, Pennsylvania – d. 2019, New Paltz, NY, USA), winner of 2017 Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award, has reshaped discourse on gender, sexuality and the body. Incorporating her physical body and subjective experience, throughout her career she insisted on her status as both image maker and image. Her work, ranging from painting-constructions and assemblages to kinetic multimedia installations, transcends the boundaries of media and discipline. In Portrait Partials (1970/2004), Schneemann creates a grid out of black and white photographs of intimate body parts. Taking each human feature out of context, standardising the images in a definitive structure, removes the body from a cultural framework. In 2019, Schneemann’s work was included in a group exhibition, The Feminist Avant-Garde: Works from the SAMMLUNG VERBUND at The Brno House of Arts, Brno, Czech Republic. In 2015, Schneemann was celebrated in a retrospective, Kinetic Painting at Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria, which toured to Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt Germany and MoMA PS1, New York, USA in 2017.
Anwar Jalal Shemza (b. 1928 Simla, India - d. 1985 Stafford, UK) repeatedly sought to break down the structure of shapes to come to a resolved understanding. Parallels can be drawn between a looping structure of language found in his fictional writing and the arrangements he developed through painting. In his compositions, layered elements are distilled into an intensive exploration of geometric abstraction and pattern, built up mostly using just two simple forms: the square and the circle. Square Composition 13 (1963) is exemplary of an unwavering dedication to form and process. Through extensive experimentation, the artist cultivated an outstanding formalist vocabulary in the tradition of Mondrian or Klee with the calligraphic strokes of the Arabic alphabet. Key works from Shemza’s oeuvre were recently exhibited at the Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (2019), curated by Omar Kholeif. In 2015 a selection of his works were presented in a BP display at Tate Britain, London.