Michael Aubrey and Fredrik KB / A Contrast in Styles
This is Michael Aubrey’s third exhibition at The Coningsby Gallery and he has developed an enthusiastic following amongst collectors who comment on the paintings’ sense of sheer exuberance, and on the lasting pleasure which they bring to their owners. Michael’s masterly handling of tone and colour have established him internationally as a leading watercolour impressionist. Whilst being widely varied in subject matter his paintings all display similar qualities of dynamic lighting, vibrant colour and a bold, unerring sense of composition. Even commonplace subjects seem to leap into dramatic life under his touch, perhaps reflecting his experience as a stage designer.
Michael is a Fellow of the British Watercolour Society and his work is to be found in public and private collections internationally ; over 30 solo exhibitions have been held in London, Paris and other capitals including those in Australia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, some under the patronage of the British Council, which has described him as painting “ in the finest English watercolour tradition”.
He lives in a 15th century drovers’ inn in Oundle, Northamptonshire, where he has his studio and gallery, in which work may be viewed by appointment.
Fredrik K.B. (born 1978) is a Norwegian sculptor working in Scandinavian granite and Italian marble.
He balances life with family in Haarlem, the Netherlands, with working in solitude in his atelier in a stone quarry in Norway.
For the last 20 years he has exhibited his sculptures in galleries across Europe, including cities like Firenze, Paris, Amsterdam, London and Oslo.
He is a member of Royal British Society of Sculptors and Association of Norwegian Sculptors.
From the review written by Tommy Olsson, art critic of the Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet, about Fredrik K.B.´s exhibition in Galleri Semmingsen, Oslo, may 2019:
At any given time, there is someone doing something distinctly different. Something no one else can do, or even try. Something which, in what is both a hypersensitive and cynically-ironic art scene, appears independent enough to slip in and out of the conversation unaffected.
It is difficult to criticise the sculptures of Fredrik K.B. without casting doubt on all human experience – which is an amusing thought until you realise this also applies to your own experience.
What’s equally difficult is comfortably placing this work within the thought structure we call “contemporary art” – although to a degree it of course is – since “contemporary art” becomes such a hopelessly inadequate term when referring to solid things made of stone and a style which hints just as much at the time before mankind as it does to the time after. The catchment area becomes too broad, the latent message too acute: Not only do we have to deal with no-longer existing, but also with the fact that we never did.
It is from this perspective that we must relate to this work; from the single moment that is now, and tens of thousands of years in all directions, from the fossil to the mutation; and the fact that almost everything should be understood like an irritated cobra; that we should nevertheless recognise the man’s work via what is distinctly non-human.»
Geir Uthaug, Norwegian poet, translator and the author of «The Cosmic Forge»; a biography of William Blake, writes about Fredrik:
“Fredrik K.B. is an artist who prefers the old traditions. Where the hammer is an extension of the mason’s arm. Where the craft, as it were, can be felt in the body, and the execution protrudes to the fingertips. He has not pursued the academic way, for when he applied at the Oslo Academy of art, they had shut down the class for stone sculpture, instead he was taught by other stone masons and sculptors, he acquired the necessary skill which is his heritage from the time when he for some unexplained reason was drawn to Pietrasanta and Carrara and an old stone sculptor gave him his set of tools as a sign that he was considered worthy. It was a gift which carried a great responsibility, like an oath. It meant that he vowed to take up and develop the old trade so that it would retain its forceful impact and be conveyed to new generations. (…) Intimacy, spirituality, the longing for eternity, are words which spring to mind when contemplating Fredrik’s sculptures. He is on the look-out for myths and ancient imagery. Myths open up, they are just as William Blake imagined them to be, not literary associations, but spiritual realities which reveal themselves to our imagination. It is the task of the artist to open the windows of our mind, so that perception can grasp reality and recapture it in its rich orchestration.
For Fredrik, as for Blake, the outline constitutes the border between creation and chaos. Fredrik works in the three-dimensional, but also the linear; it is all about sharpness versus softness, that which defines the limits, and that which opens up. Something of the essence of an artwork which is created is the use of symbolic imagery, which does not need to be as explicit as in the written language. There it must be pointed and made manifest, but when it comes to sculpture, the innuendo is adequate, nay, mandatory. No comment is required, for the sculpture is its own comment. If that is to be achieved, then more than training is needed, this is where that which cannot be expressed comes in, for which we have no words. The most difficult of all.
“What are those golden builders doing?” Blake asks. They are helping to construct Golgonooza, the eternal City of Art, and some artists, who are conscious of their task, contribute to build it in their own minds, and fashion it in stone; for it is all about the mental city which is always threatened by deterioration, and will always have to overcome this decline, if it is to be a bulwark against formlessness. “Truth is beauty, beauty truth,“ John Keats wrote. Eternity-longing beauty is embedded in Fredrik KB’s sculptures like a form-rendering idea which in its redeemed form can overcome the limitations of matter.”