Derek Hirst at Flowers Gallery Kingsland Road
30 August 2019
Derek Hirst, Melancholy Baby, 1974 Acrylic on canvas
82 Kingsland Road E2 8DP
12 September – 2 November 2019
Flowers Gallery presents a selection of works by Derek Hirst.
A cursory glance at the diverse body of work produced during Derek Hirst's long and prolific career could lead to the assessment that he was an artist bent on defiant capriciousness.
His paintings are uniform only in their insistence on dramatic shifts of emphasis and advocacy of a radically transforming visual language.
Hirst dedicated attention to an exceptionally varied subject matter, whilst deploying media ranging from oils, dyes and acrylic to less conventional materials such as sand, plaster, rope, and dried reeds. The style of his work, too, permutated from precisely calculated, hard-edged colour to a luminous blending of surfaces and tones. From this inventory of difference, it is easy to conclude that Hirst invested considerable impetus in a refusal to be 'pinned down'. But the reality is quite the contrary.
Being-in-the-world and producing art that contained "every aspect of human passion and mirror[ed] consciously, or unconsciously, as a seismograph might measure the slightest earthly tremor, the events of the world" was Hirst's ceaseless endeavour. His essential anchoring to place meant that, beyond perfunctory appearances, Hirst's preoccupations and passions remained constant, his work bound together by an unvarying purpose. It is this dedication to evoking or (re)presenting place - whether Catalonian earthy incandescence, the balanced formal beauty of the Zen gardens of Kyoto or the coal-stained, snow-smudged domestic landscapes of his native Doncaster - that provides remarkable consistency in an apparently inconsistent oeuvre.