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9/12, Damian ELWES - Artist Studios: From Picasso to Kusama
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Nancy Tubbs

September 05, 2019    

MODERNISM INC. presents:

Damian ELWES - Artist Studios: From Picasso to Kusama

Artist reception Sept 12, 5:30-8pm; Exhibition September 12 - October 26, 2019, San Francisco


In the 1940s, Henri Matisse advised young artists to make copies of their favorite paintings. Nearly half a century later, Damian Elwes decided to follow his advice with a twist. "I went to Paris and made paintings of the studios of my favorite artists," Elwes says. What began as a way of learning from deceased masters-including Matisse-has developed into a vast body of visually- and conceptually-rich work to be exhibited in a solo show at Modernism Gallery in September.

Elwes has painted the studios of great artists ranging from Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin to Pablo Picasso and Yayoi Kusama to Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney. His lush canvases not only reference their work aesthetically but also excavate their creative processes by meticulously reconstructing spaces that no longer exist. To research each artwork, Elwes delves deeply into history, scrutinizing dozens of photographs and literary sources as well as the masters' own paintings. He also seeks out the buildings where the artists' studios were once situated.

"The sense of painterly well-being that pervades [Elwes' canvases] comes from painstaking research," explains the art critic Anthony Haden-Guest. "Elwes wants the viewer to feel he is witnessing creation... to feel what it is like to inhabit each of these painters."
For Elwes, there's also the conviction that these studios are found compositions. "These people were so visual that even the negative space has been thought about," Elwes observes. "So what I'm doing is painting thousands of still lives laid out for me by the most creative minds of the last century."

Damian ELWES (born 10 August 1960) is a British artist who lives and works in Santa Monica, California. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across America and Europe, and was most recently the subject of a retrospective at the Musee en Herbe, Paris, in 2018.

Artist reception Sept 12, 5:30-8pm; Exhibition September 12 - October 26, 2019

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA, 94121

FREE and open to the public.

Phone: 415-541-0461
Contact: Harlee

Founded in 1979, Modernism has since presented more than 450 exhibitions, both historical and contemporary, in media ranging from painting to photography, sculpture to performance, by an international roster of artists.

Throughout its 37 years, owner Martin Muller has striven to keep the gallery's challenging, museum quality program at the forefront of the art world.
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