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KEVIN SINNOTT NEW PAINTINGS 11 July - 10 August 2013


Prices on application


© Kevin Sinnott and Martin Tinney Gallery

Kevin Sinnott was born in Wales in 1947. He trained at the Cardiff College of Art and Design, before attending the Royal College of Art, London. His early paintings soon earned critical acclaim, winning him two awards in the John Moores Biennial. He has since enjoyed an outstanding career as one of the foremost contemporary artists in Britain. He was the subject of the BBC documentary, Running Away with the Hairdresser, and has published Behind the Canvas, a compelling survey of both his creative process and the state of contemporary art. His work is on display at The National Museum of Wales, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and at the British Museum, to name but a few, as well as in significant private collections worldwide. If asked what animates his vision, Kevin might say, a medley of intimacy and intoxication, daring and doubt. In these vibrant paintings, lovers and mothers both attract and repel the objects of their affection or ambivalence. This heady concoction informs not only the charged moments captured on canvas, but also the heavy brushstrokes which pin them there. The paint has a presence. The candied colour scheme evident in this series, rather than sugar-coating its subjects, makes their pain and their pleasure sweeter. The abstract backgrounds heighten the personal drama of the tableaux. A human bridge closes the space between two people in The Bridge and Overture, unifying the paintings’ singular composition and offering their subjects, as well as the viewer, a moment of respite, a tranquil oasis in the parched desert of their orange-red backgrounds. The gesture of outreach is echoed in His Hand, but here the warmth of colour has gone; the connection between the lovers is in doubt, uneven, tinged with opaque rejection. He looks away, and she sees him do it. The moment that is caught tells the whole story. Partnership sees a kissing couple rising above the mundane objects of life, a simple illusion of depth created, as in many of these works, by a division between the colour above and the colour below. But, seen through Kevin’s eyes, things are never simple. Even as they rise, the woman’s hand creeps down, reaching, it seems, for a pair of scissors; the man is oblivious. Whether things will end well or badly is, like the couple’s embrace, entirely up in the air. Kevin’s further explores a plurality of vision in Lost and Dry Martinis. Again there is the repeated gesture, now of a falling woman and the man who catches her. Lost frames the man against a promising background of light blue, its shade reminiscent of American frontier paintings. Despite, or because of, the sexual frisson between them, the woman looks to him for support. Dry Martini, with its heady colours, hints at a more ominous state of affairs. Glasses tumble and bar stools are poised, snake-like, on the sidelines of the scene. Lines of colour form an X that marks the woman’s spot. The suited gentleman’s hands wander further than they should, and her gaze falls away, as if she were still looking for deliverance. Both accounts create cliff-hangers, but perhaps only one will end with the heroine safely tucked up in bed.

In Sleep and Sleeping Partner, two couples hold twin poses. But as their titles suggest, one is slumbering while the other filled with questionable emotions. The bucolic background in Sleep echoes the lines of the sleeping couple; the hills form soft triangles and curves. Without a landscape behind them, and in cold colours, the restless couple in Sleeping Partners balance precariously, angular and unsupported. Like the telling gaze in Dry Martinis, the man looks up into nothing, while the woman hides her face in her arm. Subtle but vital narrative distinctions, conveyed by a change in gesture or in colour scheme, are examined again in the mirrored figures of Life Drawing and Life Class. Distraction and Literally Yellow both depict the same beguiling moment, but while Distraction anchors its subjects firmly on the ground, Literally sees them floating in a sea of yellow. Both are perilously tantalising. One shows the earthly version of a risky encounter straight from classic mythology, and the other offers the viewer the rapturous experience Jason might have had when he glimpsed a siren over the bows of the Argo. Another siren, seductively posed, is centre-stage in the fiercely-hued The Female of the Species, although Kevin might not, with Kipling, agree that she is more deadly than the male. In fact, a celebration of woman as Amazonian giver-of-life comes in Mother Of Three/ Oh Mother and Mother on Yellow. The tour de force that is Mother on Yellow epitomises the design of this series. The painting is tender but tantalising, provocative and proud, using colour and line not only as a formal conceit or as subversion (a trope so tired, by this stage of the twenty-first century, that it is practically a convention), but to breathe life and soul into the human subject, in all its isolation and glory. Moving away from the Welsh landscapes and forces of nature that his previous work included, Kevin concentrates here on his greatest strength – human relationships. He has the power to tell the story of intimate and fevered interactions, and, more importantly, to recreate that fever and intimacy between the viewer and the painting. His tales are as colourful as his palette, and intrigue and ardour come in lashings as thick as the paint. His work is full of a joie de vivre which may be peculiarly Welsh, but is also the same in any language. In other words, he has the power to move us. Too strikingly original to fold into an –ism, his place on the contemporary art scene is indisputable. In his words, ‘when a work of art is created it isn’t posing a question but answering it.’ Looking at Kevin’s paintings, the answer to the question is - this is art. Mary-Claire Wilson June 2013

BACK SEAT oil on panel 2012 41 x 30cm



BY THE HAND oil on linen 2012 70 x 56cm



ANTHONY IN THE DESERT oil on linen 2012 170 x 144cm



DISTRACTION oil on linen 2012 70 x 56cm



OVERTURE II oil on linen 2012 56 x 70cm



LIFE CLASS oil on panel 2012 41 x 30cm



HIS HAND oil on panel 2013 41 x 30cm



MOTHER OF THREE oil on panel 2013 41 x 30cm



MOTHER ON YELLOW oil on linen 2013 110 x 85cm



DRY MARTINIS oil on linen 2012 170 x 144cm



LIFE DRAWING oil on linen 2013 70 x 56cm



LITERALLY YELLOW oil on linen 2013 170 x 144cm



OVERTURE oil on panel 2012 30 x 41cm



LOST oil on linen 2013 70 x 56cm



YELLOW MAT II oil on panel 2013 41 x 30cm



MOTHER oil on panel 2013 41 x 30cm



OH MOTHER oil on linen 2012 110 x 85cm



SLEEPING PARTNER oil on linen 2012 110 x 130cm



ON SHOULDERS oil on linen 2012 110 x 85cm



STAY II oil on linen 2012 130 x 110cm



PARTNERSHIP oil on linen 2013 110 x 144cm



THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES oil on linen 2012 170 x 144cm



SLEEP oil on linen 2012 56 x 70cm



TOTAL SUBMISSION oil on panel 2013 41 x 30cm



YELLOW MAT oil on linen 2013 70 x 56cm



VICTORY oil on linen 2013 70 x 56cm



THE BRIDGE oil on linen 2013 110 x 144cm



Selected Solo Exhibitions 2013 2012 2012 2007/09/11 2006 2005 2005 2004 2003 2002/03 2002 2001 2000 1999 1999 1998 1996 1996 1992/94/96 1990 1990 1988 1988 1987 1987 1986

Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff ‘A bit of a wind got up’ Flowers, Kingsland Road Oriel Tegfryn, Menai Bridge Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff Grafenwald, Borken-Gemen, Germany Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff Y Tabernacle, Machynlleth, Powys Grafenwald, Borken-Gemen, Germany Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff Caldwell/Snyder Gallery, San Francisco. Art Chicago, USA Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff Caldwell Snyder Gallery, New York Flowers West, Los Angeles Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff Flowers East, London Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff Galleri Henrik Kampmann, Copenhagen Flowers East, London Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London Anne Berthoud Gallery, London Bernard Jacobson Gallery, New York Roger Ramsay Gallery, Chicago Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London & New York Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

Selected Group Exhibitions 2013 56 Group, Newport Museum 1994 - 2012 Martin Tinney Gallery 2011 56 Group, National Museum of Wales 2010 56 Group, Narbeth 2009 ‘Pictures with (Welsh) People In’ Martin Tinney Gallery 2009 ‘Small is Beautiful’ Flowers galleries, London 2007 ‘Wales on Canvas’, The Welsh Assembly and British Council, Brussels 2003 Chicago Art Fair 2003 Art Cologne. 2002 Chicago Art Fair. 2002 ‘On Home Ground’, Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno. 2001 ‘Intimacy’, Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno. 2000 ‘Painting the Dragon’, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff 1998 ‘Small is Beautiful’, Flowers East, London 1997 ‘Welsh Painters Talking’, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff 1996/97 Flowers East, London 1996 Art Chicago, USA 1996 Art Frankfurt, Germany 60

1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1994 1994 1994 1994 1994 1993 1993 1992 1992 1990 1989 1988 1988 1987 1987 1987 1986

Flowers East, London FIAC, Paris. Art Frankfurt, Germany Art Chicago, USA ‘An American Passion’, Susan Kasen & Robert D. Summer Collection Contemporary British Art, Glasgow Museum of Art & Royal College of Art Flowers East, London Art New York International, USA Art Miami, USA Art Cologne, Germany Lineart, Gent, Belgium Modern Graphic Art in Britain, British Museum, London Contemporary Art at the Courtauld Institute, London Flowers East, London Art LA, Los Angeles, USA Contemporary Vision, Contemporary Arts Centre, Cincinnati, USA Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London British Art Now, Contemporary Arts Centre, Cincinnati, USA Lefevre Gallery, London British Figurative Painting, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, Santa Barbara Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles Bernard Jacobson Gallery, New York L.A. Louver Gallery, Los Angeles

Collections National Museum of Wales Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York National Library of Wales Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Ashmolean Museum, Oxford British Museum Wolverhampton City Art Gallery Arts Council of Great Britain Contemporary Arts Society for Wales Oxford University Royal College of Art, London British Council Isle of Man Arts Council MOMA Wales Deutsche Bank AG London Unilever PLC Private and corporate collections worldwide. 61

MARTIN TINNEY GALLERY WWW.ARTWALES.COM 18 St. Andrew’s Crescent Cardiff CF10 3DD tel:029 2064 1411

Kevin Sinnott Catalogue 2013