Mineral Histories / Robin Richmond
Opening Days and Hours: Mondays - Fridays, 9.45am - 6pm Saturday 12th, 11am - 6pm Closed Sunday 13th Saturday 19th, 11am - 5pm
In 2020 life changed for all of us.
I am a restless person - doubtless a result of my peripatetic childhood - so moving around the world has always been a source for my work. Have paint, will travel.
Then, suddenly, painting trips to faraway places stopped. I had just come back from a painting project in Rajasthan in late February 2020, creating work for the Royal Watercolour Society. Days of innocence. Seeing masks on my fellow travellers in the airport on the way home to London it was clear that the world had shifted on its axis in my absence. International exhibitions of my work that I had long planned were immediately postponed and then definitively cancelled. There were no museum shows to write about in my blogs. There was no social life. No useful feedback from artist friends. It’s easy to forget now, but so many of us lived in a state of suspended animation and fear through that terrible time.
The pandemic changed my work as well as my life. I don’t know why this surprises me. Partly out of expedience, partly out of a need to challenge myself, I decided to rely on what materials I had to hand in my studio. I determined to take unfinished paintings on paper that had accumulated over the years in my plan chest and use them as a source. Like making a mosaic, this new technique involved reassembling the earlier material, adding newly painted elements – this became the most important process – and forging something entirely different and surprising by adding washes and detail with brushes, rollers, rags and mops.
As I have long been a scavenger when I walk on beaches or in forests, there was ample subject matter. The corners of my studios, both in London and in France, are heaped with stones, branches, shells, minerals and bones. One day, early on in the first lockdown, I found myself holding a talismanic piece of bloodstone from an old painting trip in Utah, and without conscious thought, I made a painting about it. It was the origin of this show, and the reason why I have called this show Mineral Histories.
This, my first solo exhibition in three years, is a personal history of these last, lost years.
Robin Richmond’s work is in many museum, corporate, government, university and private collections all over the world. Born in the USA, and brought up in Rome, she completed a B.A. and M.A at Chelsea School of Art, studying with Prunella Clough, Gillian Ayres, John Hoyland, Ken Kiff, and Howard Hodgkin among others. She has been an internationally acclaimed artist for over four decades, with shows in the USA, Italy, and France and this is her 36th one-woman show. Her work has been reviewed in articles and books ranging widely from the London Observer and Financial Times to the New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Arts Review and Modern Painters. She has authored six books on art, and illustrated three others, and has been an arts correspondent for the BBC. Her teaching career has including being Visiting Professor at UC Santa Cruz California, at Yale and at London university. She is an active member of the Royal Watercolour Society and now lives and works in central London and rural France, where she concentrates on her painting, and writing an idiosyncratic arts blog.