Mythical and timeless are keywords when approaching the paintings of George Underwood. Sublime characters in ethereal landscapes give associations to metaphorical and metaphysical readings, and to the parts of philosophy dealing with mans existential conditions.
George Underwood is a renowned artist whose work has been exhibited at London’s prestigious Royal Academy and is held in many private collections. Born in 1947, he started his artistic career at Beckenham Art School in 1963. He had a spell pursuing a career in music, along with life long friend David Bowie and made one record with The King-Bees and also a solo record under the name of Calvin James. He then returned to art studies, later going freelance with his own studio working mainly with illustrations. He is well known for his numerous book-covers and for sleeve art for bands like T-Rex, David Bowie, Gentle Giant, The Fixx and Procul Harum.
In the beginning of the 1970s Underwood started to paint in oils.and developed a singular style much influenced by strong imaginative visions. His paintings were influences by the Viennese School of Fantastic Realism, including artists such as Ernst Fuchs, Rudolph Hausner and Eric Brauer. But he was also having an eye of old Masters such as Bruegel and Bosch, and was clearly fascinated by their fantastical and imaginative visions. From this he has over the years developed an iconoclastic style of his own, borrowing manners from the renaissance and the old masters, combined with a highly personal take on the the esoteric inspirations.
George Underwood's paintings are to day sought after; they have been exhibited at London’s prestigious Royal Academy and are to be found in many private collections. One of his admirers was David Bowie, who said this about Underwood as an artist:
George has, over the years, refined his work to the point where I would put him among the top figurative painters coming out of the UK right now. There’s a sublime isolation surrounding his subjects that really touches the viewer, the figures being both heroic and vulnerable simultaneously. There’s a timeless element in the choice of subject matter that overlaps with the mythical world of Odd Nerdrum, say. Now that a huge shift to painting is taking place, I would expect to see George’s name pushed further and further to the front.
In connections with the exhibition the book George Underwood - Soulful Warriors is published. This is the first monograph about the artist, and covers as well as his childhood and background as a musician and illustrator as his illustrious career as a painter. The book is written by Tom Hovinbøle and published by Pontano books.
Exhibition curated by Catrine Danielsen
The exhibition is presented by Medlemsforeningen Kunsthall Grenland and is part of the project Bowie70.
The exhibition opens 14th January 2017 at 12:00. There will be an artist talk at 14:15 with George Underwood. (Please note that the artist talk requires buying a ticket.)
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