Coinciding with his major presentation Son of Rubens at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Flowers Gallery is delighted to exhibit a series of new, large-scale works by Anthony Daley. This marks Daley's eighth showing at Flowers, his first aged twenty-three in 1983 as the gallery's first ever 'Artist of the Day.' This exhibition presents paintings that expand on the thematic works exhibited at Dulwich Picture Gallery, which are thoughtful, personal responses to an iconic work in the gallery's collection: Peter Paul Rubens's Venus, Mars and Cupid (c.1635).
These powerful works from the abstractionist painter demonstrate how art history remains fertile material for contemporary art practice today. Daley reflects that from an early age he was "obsessed" with Old Master paintings, poring over books he'd found in his local church in Jamaica, motivated by the challenge, in his words, of "being as good" as the French, Italian and Dutch Masters.
The influence of Rubens, famed for his mastery of colour and almost sculptural development of texture through his use of paint, is evident in these canvases, which are built up with gestural, textured passages that coalesce into rich, often explosive fields of colour. In works such as Bombshell and Saintly, Daley's radiant palette appears as though illuminated from an internal light source, recalling the luminescence of Rubens' famed classical nudes.
In other works, the moody plums of Dividing Line and the central passage of lustrous bottle greens in Shielded suggest romantic ideals of the sublime. The improvisational drips of paint and gestural passages of colour that recur across these new works demonstrate the central importance Daley has always placed on the process of art making itself, as he states he is always, above all, "searching for new painterly possibilities."