Fri 13 Oct 2023 to Sat 18 Nov 2023
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-7pm
Artist: Derek Boshier
Pop-Art pioneer Derek Boshier presents two brand new bodies of work for his much anticipated solo exhibition at Gazelli Art House. 7 Self Portraits sees Boshier reflect and reimagine his own artistic legacy; Sit/ Stand/ Knell – Global Warming, The Factory, and The Saints offers astute social commentary across intricate drawings.
Added to list
In 7 Self Portraits, Boshier reassembles his artistic output, themes, and contexts and, in-so-doing, redefines the notion of a self-portrait. In what Boshier terms “Archival Self-Portraits” his journey is presented as a visual narrative that charts especially transformative years, intertwining life and art. Each distinct work is intricately woven with images and themes from a specific year, providing an intimate, somewhat polymorphic, depiction of self.
Self-Portrait: (Circa 1955) (2022) delves into Boshier’s formative years at Yeovil School of Art, during which he was profoundly influenced by Monet and Van Gogh. Images from this period are interwoven with snapshots of factories, reflecting the artist’s early exposure to industrial elements that would later become integral to his artistic identity. Self-Portrait: (Circa 1970) (2022) takes viewers on a journey through Boshier’s world of film and literature, drawing inspiration from his film Link (1970) and conceptual book 16 Situations (1971) from that very year. Epitomising Boshier’s musical connections, Self-Portrait: (Circa 1979) (2022) incorporates images from iconic books and vinyl record covers for David Bowie and The Clash. Self-Portrait: (Circa 1982) (2022) transports viewers to Boshier’s time spent in Texas, capturing the essence of his experiences and emotions during this period.
Sit/ Stand/ Knell – Global Warming, The Factory, and The Saints are simultaneously personal and universal; complex subjects are tackled with as much delicacy and honesty as their pencil on paper depiction. Outlines of figures are suspended in seas of leaves, clouds, swirling lines of abstraction, and crucifixes, their insides a visual tableaux of activity.
America and Guns (2022) is a powerful piece that opens observation on contemporary American culture, prompting viewers to reflect on complex societal issues and debates. Meanwhile The Factory (2022) , delves into the industrial landscape providing a kind of social commentary on human labour and the modern workforce. Denoting the urgency of climate change, Global Warming (The Floods) (2021) invites contemplation on the impact of environmental challenges for planet earth. Music and the Musician (2023) and Near Sherborne Dorset (2022) demonstrate, respectively, the artist’s connections to music and landscape, while The Saints (2022) suggests an introspective exploration that has taken on a spiritual dimension.
Spotlighting the artist’s trademark wit, humour, and incisive observation, this exhibition offers visitors an extraordinary opportunity to see Boshier reflect on his trailblazing artistic career.
The exhibition coincides with a survey exhibition of Boshier’s work at Wolverhampton Art Gallery Derek Boshier: Image in Revolt and the publication of a major new monograph Derek Boshier: Reinventor, published by Lund Humphries, edited by Helen Little, and featuring commentaries and reflections by leading contemporary artists, academics, curators and writers.
“Celebrating Boshier’s iconic, irreverent, and constantly evolving practice, the two exhibitions and recently published book presents a timely opportunity to look back and across the career of one of Britain’s foremost exponents of Pop art. Offering a lens through which to understand his wider practice, they speak to the legacy of Boshier’s art that has strived to expose and challenge society’s norms, values and taboos and call attention to the structures that influence how we see and express ourselves – and how we are seen by others.”
— Helen Little
About the Artist
The variegated practice of Los Angeles-based, English artist Derek Boshier (B. 1937) is coined by astute and wry observations of popular culture. Among the first exponents of British Pop Art, what distinguished Boshier from contemporaries — including Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, and Pauline Boty — was his trademark brand of satirical social commentary.
Together with fellow RCA students David Hockney, Allen Jones, Peter Philips, and R B Kitaj, he participated in the landmark 1962 Young Contemporaries exhibition that brought Pop Art to the attention of the wider public. The artist works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, collage, and sculpture. In the 1970s, the artist expanded from painting to photography, film, video, assemblage, and installations, yet he returned to painting by the end of the decade. On what shapes his work, Boshier commented: “Most important is life itself, my sources tend to be current events, personal events, social and political situations, and a sense of place and places”.
Boshier’s work has appeared in many museum exhibitions, including: the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Britain and British Museum, London; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris. Boshier was the recipient of the Honorary Fellowship of the RCA in 2016 as well as receiving the Guggenheim fellowship and NEA award for the arts. Notably too, he is an accomplished teacher and lecturer.
2021’s Icarus and K-Pop at Gazelli Art House saw a new series of large scale works by Boshier, informed by the Korean programme King of Mask Singers and the myth of Icarus, a story of ambition and failure, reworked by the artist to critique modern ideologies and cultures.