Flowers Gallery is delighted to present new works by Scottish artist Peter Howson, marking his first solo show in Asia. This exhibition of apocalyptic paintings and drawings borrows its name from the Latin phrase from Book 1 of Virgil's Aeneid, Lacrimae Rerum, which translates as 'the tears of things', and addresses themes of crisis, violence, collectivity, technology and its impact on contemporary experience.
Throughout his career, Howson has confronted subjects of human conflict and destruction, both in his former role as a war artist in Bosnia in the 1990s and his own personal understanding of the struggles of everyday life. In this new exhibition, Howson investigates these themes in highly detailed works that
recall the fantastical dreamscapes of Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch. These epic tableaus teem with wrestling figures that are often pulled together by sinuous, wire-like tendrils, a compelling visualisation of the connective influence of the internet on civilization, which Howson often depicts as a corrupting force. In these dystopian scenes, crowds clamber over felled buildings and leaking pipes. Often overlooking these sparring characters and the surrounding destruction are giant figures, a recurring motif in Howson's work, the other worldly menace of whom echo the allegorical monsters of Spanish Romantic painter Francisco Goya.
While Howson often uses colour to punctuate the drama of his scenes, a series of smaller, largely monochromatic works on panel leave a distinctly different impression. The almost grisaille images endow the figures and their barren surroundings with a machinistic appearance that heightens the dystopic themes of this new body of work.