ANDREW GRAVES and STEPHEN HARWOOD ‘Common Ground’

‘Common Ground’

6 – 30 November


At frst the pairing of Andrew/Stephen seemed wilfully perverse – an
abstract painter self-consciously in the tradition of the American Abstract
Expressionists (though with a twist), and an entirely fgurative painter of reimagined
landscape… self-consciously in the very English tradition of…
But that’s where the experiment in disassociation becomes an exercise in
coincidence, as when two people fnd in mid conversation that their
mothers both grew up in the same town. Both painters put their work
through a distinctive refning process, their sources pared down and
stripped of bombast.
With Graves the scale of the work strips Expressionism of its overweening
need to ‘express’ and becomes more refective, as though Ginsberg had
taken heed of Emily Dickinson as indeed he did of Blake and simplifed
and refned his ‘Howl’ into a cogent touching ballad.
With Harwood’s landscapes we both do and don’t know what we are
looking at. Familiar tamed landscapes of Southern England appear
skewed, not quite themselves. Their source material: travel books (i.e. the
Shell Guides), flms (i.e. of Derek Jarman), and photographs (i.e. of Paul
Nash) links them with eras lost through time and mortality.
Their handling, their own processes of refnement result in a matter-of-fact
sublime, a numinous everyday.
Both artists live and work in London.