Forthcoming : Peter Blegvad & Chloe Fremantle
‘Light Seeking Light’ : 1-12 November 2022
Royal Watercolour Society Galleries
3-5 Whitcomb Street London WC2H 7HA
Tuesday-Saturday 10-5 pm
‘ Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly? ’ Frida Kahlo
Peter Blegvad’s art is conceptual, nebulous, playful and quirky. It is challenging with much for the viewer to explore, and contemplative in the unravelling. There is an existential element to his practice that he has developed parallel to his media career since the ‘70s recorded in Imagine, Observe, Remember (Uniformbooks 2020) in which he examines askance the process of making art whilst reflecting to what extent art is based on the images retained in our mind’s eye.
‘Blegvad’s kites are a new language for paintings-as-things (without being sculptures) or ‘constructions’. Just beautiful’ — Will Eaves
Preoccupations and narrative are woven into Blegvad’s ‘Flightless Kites’ like dreams. Whether figurative or abstracted, they are suspended in a state of ‘meditative’ stasis.This series of 3D ‘construct paintings’ feature kites with wood infrastructure, rigged with string and overlaid with a film of tissue papier-mȃché that lends a milky, dreamlike sensibility. Villard de Honnecourt, a 13th Century French itinerant artist, whose ‘sketchbook’ of annotated drawings revealed him to be both architect and engineer, is the subject of Blegvad’s ‘De Honnecourt I & II’. Depicted in medieval portraiture style but for the eyes, his gaze is fearful, all seeing above the city skyline. Archaic on first inspection, the dis-ease reflects contemporary concerns.
‘Delphic Dials’ refers to the ambivalent predictions of Pythia. Presenting as the dashboard of a cargo cult plane, the artist challenges the parameters of what can be measured, predicted or controlled with a playfully complex ‘Blue Peter’ construction. Obscured gardening netting forms the groundwork for a tableau of tissue paper discs as functional as communion wafers with satellite decal numerals that complete the fiction. All is carefully locked into place with varnish and glue. The artist has created a secret world, intricate and intensely worked like a hive of pollen, wax and honey.
To complement his Flightless Kites, Peter Blegvad is showing a portfolio of drawings and paintings. Black and White Portraits in ink on paper of actors, musicians and artists from 1920s, 30s and 40s draw on classic ‘film noir’ with beautiful landscape paintings in acrylic on paper - a nod to Hokusai - delineated in simple lines and quiet palette that are deceptively calming. Cataract **features a fast-flowing waterfall constrained by dark terrain that has the zen of symmetry, and **Alp portrays a snow-capped mountain peak that beckons above a sheer and harsh ascent.
As teacher and broadcaster of many years, illustrator, musician, songwriter, and author, it follows that Peter Blegvad creates a kaleidoscope of Art that reflects a lifetime of extraordinary creativity. Inviting us to share his journey, his work is imbued with humour and intellect in equal measure.
Jenny Blyth, Curator © 2022