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Mark Shields at the Grosvenor Gallery

The Struggle by Mark Shields

Exhibition preview

MARK Shields’ 8th solo show at London’s Grosvenor Gallery, Here and Elsewhere, is on display from April 21 to May 14, 2010.

By working within the confines of figurative painting, the acclaimed Northern Irish artist has successfully managed to be original and contemporary which has led to his success.

Now with the current exhibition Here and Elsewhere, Shields presents a powerful group of 17 large scale figurative compositions. Two wrestling figures in The Struggle conjure thoughts of Jacob and the Angel. A rugged Village Couple have become the eternal wanderers. The Captives suggest slave prisoners.

The stillness and calmness associated with and admired in Shields’ work is present in the above works; however the painting technique is not. Matte, fresco-like surfaces, scratched and spattered with paint as though marked with the passage of the ages, combine with the imagery to suggest a more violent monumental spirit.

The title Here and Elsewhere is suggested on different levels. The figures themselves, mostly coupled, are inextricably linked with each other yet they often appear to inhabit quite separate plains. Here and Elsewhere.

Again, the paintings depict believable scenarios – three girls in Daydreamers, a poet at his desk in The Poet – yet one senses that the Here of the depiction is merely a visual clue to a transcendent Elsewhere.

And then one senses that the painter himself is both Here at the materialisation of the work and Elsewhere as he recognises the echoes of other periods and cultures in his expression of the endlessly repeated themes of human existence; of love and suffering, chaos and order, doubt and belief, the sacred and the sensual, the temporal and the eternal.

In these he identifies with his ancestors as though the most ancient of times were present with him still. Here and Elsewhere.

Andrew Lambirth describes the recent works: “Art deals with the things that can’t be explained, the things of the spirit… His latest series of paintings embody these ambitions in a most remarkable way. Like all good art, they work on a number of levels and continue to feed the mind and eye of the viewer long after the initial encounter”

As well as shows in Berlin and Art Basel, there is growing International demand for Shields’ work. He is featured in leading private collections in the UK and around the world and is in the permanent collection of several museums.

Times: Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm; Saturday from 12 to 4pm.

Grosvenor Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6PX

Tel: +44 (0)20 7484 7979