I Cheer a Dead Man’s Sweetheart
“it challenges boundaries about what painting should be….interesting, ambitious and provocative” Financial Times
“An evocative celebration of the richness and complexity of painting as it is happening in studios all over Britain in the work of artists, from established to up-and-coming” The Times
I Cheer a Dead Man's Sweetheart is both a celebration and an exploration of painting in Britain today, presenting the recent work of twenty-one living artists whose practices span six decades.
The exhibition takes its title from the last verse of the poem Is My Team Ploughing by A. E. Housman, first published in 1896. As a conversation between a dead man and his living friend who is now with the girlfriend he left behind, it serves as an allegory for the influence of the past and its evolving significance in contemporary painting practice.
Iconic figures such as Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff are presented next to other established, mid-career and emerging artists such as Gary Wragg, Phoebe Unwin and Joella Wheatley.
Using a range of techniques, the paintings reveal intriguing and surprising connections and contrasts as well as the underlying preoccupations of the artists after long periods spent working in their studios.
The paintings have been selected to evoke an immediate response both to the works themselves and the process of painting and to encourage visitors to make their own connections between these apparently different approaches. The result is a particular perspective on painting in contemporary Britain.
I Cheer a Dead Man's Sweetheart is accompanied by an illustrated book containing short texts by the artists describing their approach to making paintings. Available from the Pavilion shop at £4.99.