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Alchemy

Works by Matisse and Keith Haring
remade by Keith Farquhar

Exhibition open:
20th Oct-18th Nov 2007

This is not an ordinary curated show. I have opted to recreate two seminal works by two of the twentieth century’s most gifted draughtsmen, Henri Matisse and Keith Haring. The works have in common a linear cartoon quality which I have replicated in laser-cut vinyl to form scaled-down and simplified versions of the originals. Completed in 1951, Matisse’s AVE mural forms part of the interior Chapel of the Rosary, planned and carried out for the congregation of Dominican nuns in the village of Vence, near Nice on the Cote d’ azure.  AVE depicts Mary and the Christ-Child rising up among what appear to be the flowers of nature or the ubiquitous clouds in the sky. Matisse’s loosely drawn awkward yet beautiful lines reveal directly in black ink on white tiles the traces of his aging hand. My version is derived from a postcard image of the work – computer enlarged so that the master’s line is bastardised into something unforeseeable and new.

The billows in Matisse’s work are formally similar yet absolutely opposite in subject matter to Keith Haring’s toxic fumes belching from a crack-pipe sat at the base of his giant composition Crack is Wack. Illegally painted in 1986 on a handball-court in Manhattan’s poverty stricken Upper Eastside during New York City’s hard drug epidemic, Haring’s huge mural, with it’s warning of the very real hell of Crack addiction can be seen as a 20th Century last judgement wall with literal nods to Picasso’s Guernica. Both Matisse and Haring’s pieces are like modern day fresco paintings. The two works which you see in front of you are merely props; advertisements for the aforementioned artworks. Go to the cote d’azure. Go to Manhattan. See these seminal artworks up close.

 


Scottish Arts Council

 

The Embassy Gallery registered in Scotland Company Number:259872
and Charity No. SC035780