This catalogue was published to coincide with the artist's solo exhibition New Paintings / Chemical Culture, 18 October - 15 November 2008.
Derek Boshier first came to prominence with his paintings as a student at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s, where he studied with David Hockney, Allen Jones, R.B.Kitaj and others in the British Pop Art movement.
Subsequently he has worked in many other media: drawing, printmaking, film, books, three-dimensional object making, installations, photography, and in graphics, working with popular music groups such as The Clash and with David Bowie. Boshier used the idioms of Pop, synthesising clusters of media-derived imagery into hypertextual and optically arresting visual narratives, to make statements about contemporary politics and the globalisation of art and culture.
The paintings and mixed media studies brought together in this book extend Boshier’s playfully subversive brand of sensationalism from sex and rock ‘n’ roll to include a visual treatise on the subject of drugs. The cowboy character that appeared in many of his Texas paintings is reinvented here, evolving, or rather devolving, into a multitude of jigsaw puzzle pieces that destabilise the bold colour fields into a toxic bleed. Cocaine Cowboy, along with Chemical Rocker and Model Citizen – further members of Boshier’s crew of malignant modern icons – literalise the de-humanisation that the artist sees as endemic within consumer-oriented societies. Here, the ubiquitous idols of our time – stars of the athletics track, celebrity demi-gods and urban outlaws clutching microphones, guitars or guns – fragment into abstract atomic forms. These punchy, playful new works make bold statements about the disintegration underlying the seductive gloss and commercial muscularity of our universal iconography.