London, Cork Street

Peter Howson

14 October - 20 November 2021


Flowers Gallery is pleased to present new works by Scottish artist Peter Howson. The exhibition of apocalyptic paintings and drawings takes its title from the mythical river Phlegethon, also known as the 'river of fire', which featured notably as a site of punishment in Dante's Divine Comedy.

Throughout his career, Howson has tackled the subject of human conflict and destruction, both in his role as a former official war artist, and in his observations of everyday struggles.

In this exhibition, Howson explores themes of prophecy, suffering and redemption, aligning his harrowing vision of contemporary crisis with a collision of references stemming from medieval literature, Renaissance poetry and 20th century science fiction.

Howson's epic scenes seethe with figures, often linked together by wire-like tendrils entangling the turbulent mass of limbs. Amongst narrative allusions to political events of our times, suggested by images of national flags, angry mobs, war and technology, Howson introduces symbolic motifs to address enduring questions of faith and spirituality. Texts engraved in pub signs and placards often provide wayfinders to navigate the images, such as the reference to John Donne's Holy Sonnets embedded in the sign 'La Corona' or the memento mori message of 'The Passing Bell', suggesting a meditation on mortality and impermanence.

Selected works

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