Hastings Contemporary

In pictures: from 'Picasso-esque' paintings to Quentin Blake illustrations, five must-see works at new Hastings Contemporary

Exhibitions on Copenhagen-based artist Tal R and late British painter Roy Oxlade open this week at the independent UK space formerly known as Jerwood Gallery

A new independent gallery launches this week on the UK's south coast called Hastings Contemporary (the space was previously known as the Jerwood Gallery but the gallery parted ways with its main sponsor, the Jerwood Foundation, earlier this year). An anonymous donation of £250,000 has enabled the relaunch, which is due to take place on 6 July with exhibitions dedicated to the Copenhagen-based artist Tal R (6 July-13 October) and the late British painter Roy Oxlade (6 July-6 October). The illustrator Quentin Blake also presents a series of new drawings (6 July-6 October).

“We want to encourage new ways of looking, contrasting historic works with today’s artists, showing works in a range of media, and celebrating both national and international practitioners,” says Liz Gilmore, the gallery’s director. We have picked out five key works to see and savour at the new space.

Roy Oxlade, Lemon squeezer in frame (1987). Hastings Contemporary brings to the fore in the exhibition Shine Out Fair Sun the late UK artist Roy Oxlade who died in 2014. “His work reflects his everyday life living and working alongside his wife and fellow artist Rose Wylie on the south-east coast, not far from Hastings,” says a gallery statement. A yellow utensil is shown here alongside a grey female form in a typically Primitivist-style work.
Roy Oxlade's Lemon squeezer in frame (1987). © Estate of Roy Oxlade. Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery, London

Hastings Contemporary brings to the fore in the exhibition Shine Out Fair Sun the late UK artist Roy Oxlade who died in 2014. “His work reflects his everyday life living and working alongside his wife and fellow artist Rose Wylie on the south-east coast, not far from Hastings,” says a gallery statement. A yellow utensil is shown here alongside a grey female form in a typically Primitivist-style work.

Roy Oxlade, Kitchen Knife and Scissors (1996). Oxlade’s work is overlooked, so this exhibition gives old and new followers an opportunity to (re)assess the work of the artist, writer and teacher. Oxlade creates expressionistic scenes, transforming domestic settings and objects. “Painting to me is like a room of the imagination,” he said, alluding to his instinctive approach. Crucially, Henri Matisse influenced how he saw and depicted the world.
Roy Oxlade's Kitchen Knife and Scissors (1996). © Estate of Roy Oxlade. Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery, London

Oxlade’s work is overlooked, so this exhibition gives old and new followers an opportunity to (re)assess the work of the artist, writer and teacher. Oxlade creates expressionistic scenes, transforming domestic settings and objects. “Painting to me is like a room of the imagination,” he said, alluding to his instinctive approach. Crucially, Henri Matisse influenced how he saw and depicted the world.

David Bomberg, The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda (1935). Another display includes paintings and drawings by the late UK artist David Bomberg who taught Oxlade at Borough Polytechnic alongside fellow students Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff. Both men believed that objects and places should anchor works; Oxlade was influenced in particular by Bomberg’s idea of the “spirit in the mass” which the younger artist defined as the “actions of the artist in response to the physical world of nature and things”.
David Bomberg's The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda (1935). Courtesy Hastings Contemporary

Another display includes paintings and drawings by the late UK artist David Bomberg who taught Oxlade at Borough Polytechnic alongside fellow students Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff. Both men believed that objects and places should anchor works; Oxlade was influenced in particular by Bomberg’s idea of the “spirit in the mass” which the younger artist defined as the “actions of the artist in response to the physical world of nature and things”.

Tal R, Emma in drawing room (2018). Tal R says that “the most complicated thing to do as an artist is embrace banality”. This Picasso-esque recent figurative work, showing a nude against a backdrop of African art, demonstrates how the artist “constantly renews and enriches his artistic practice and way of working”, the organisers say. Tal R says meanwhile that “every work should have a ‘hand’ that reaches out for the audience”.
Tal R's Emma in drawing room (2018). Courtesy Hastings Contemporary

Tal R says that “the most complicated thing to do as an artist is embrace banality”. This Picasso-esque recent figurative work, showing a nude against a backdrop of African art, demonstrates how the artist “constantly renews and enriches his artistic practice and way of working”, the organisers say. Tal R says meanwhile that “every work should have a ‘hand’ that reaches out for the audience”.

Tal R's The Beach (2008). The title of the exhibition, eventually all museums will be ships, is a “reflection on the beauty of the site”, Gilmore says. “The idea is that we are setting sail and moving forward.” The artist himself explains that he likes to “get people into a painting by giving them something recognisable”. Here, he shows the layered elements of a beach scene, comprising waves, clouds and rocks.
Tal R's The Beach (2008). Courtesy Hastings Contemporary

The title of the exhibition, eventually all museums will be ships, is a “reflection on the beauty of the site”, Gilmore says. “The idea is that we are setting sail and moving forward.” The artist himself explains that he likes to “get people into a painting by giving them something recognisable”. Here, he shows the layered elements of a beach scene, comprising waves, clouds and rocks.