John Hoyland – Power Stations Review

After White Cube, I went from Bermondsey to Lambeth to the newly opened Newport Street Gallery to see the exhibition of John Hoyland’s work – Power Stations.

I have admired his work for a while, but nothing prepared me for walking round a room with these enormous canvasses, in such stunning colours.

I found the exhibition very inspiring and quite breathtaking at times – I could see the progression in his work, from very controlled, to looser, to very loose and back.   There are hard edges and soft edges.  Simple shapes and more complex shapes, drips and gestures.   I loved the colours – some of them really hit you, one of my absolute favorites was just grey and red (“29.12.66” – the featured image above).   There was also a noticeable change in how he used the paint over the time span, with some highly textural and others thinner.

There is such power in how colours are placed next to one another.   I was interested in the ‘void’ shape in the middle of several canvasses, where the uniform colour is at odds with the softer colours around it – these drew my eye constantly, to their nothingness.  I want to use that idea in the void paintings for my liminal project.

Below is a gallery of shots, just to give a flavour.  As I said, it really inspired me to pursue my own totally abstracted work which I haven’t had complete confidence in.   I sketched up a picture which would go with my liminal work on the coach home and will have a play with that idea over the coming days.

I found the exhibition very uplifting and emotional – and I am jealous of Damien Hirst being able to wander round any time he likes!

And after my experience at White Cube, I was very grateful for the small handout which explained a little about the show and the paintings.

Finally, I loved the building.   Light and airy, it was well laid out and I liked the open walkway above gallery 2.     But for me, the stars were the staircases at either end and middle of the long building.   Modern spiral staircases that were so beautiful, I took as many shots (on my phone, in poor light…) as I did of the paintings!   So, below, is a gallery just of the Newport Street staircases, superb!  (Oh, and a chair, which I loved in one of the galleries, the simplicity of the design was just perfect.).

After a long day walking around London, a bench in each gallery would have enabled me to sit and really contemplate each picture for longer.   As it was I moved on more quickly than I might have liked.

The exhibition is on until 3rd April 2016 – and I look forward to seeing what is exhibited next at Newport Street Gallery – although I may well come back to this one again first.

[I have just seen on the website that there was a shop!  I missed the shop! Damn…. ]

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