Soldier - a solo art exhibition by Robert Fitzmaurice
This solo exhibition by artist Robert Fitzmaurice has been produced to mark the end of the First World War and through the works considers the nature of the soldier from ancient times to the present day. Friday 8 June - Friday 6 July 11am - 5pm ( Wednesday - Sunday only)
In contrast to the cycle of paintings by Stanley Spencer, where the imagery is deeply connected to his wartime experiences as an orderly and infantryman, this exhibition will focus on how the soldier appears in art of different periods and cultures as an archetype personifying bravery and honour. It was this archetype as depicted in Greek Art, as an athletic fighter with sword in hand, which many of the WWI poets chose to reference in their verse - that is until they met with the full horror of modern warfare. From our perspective today we recognise that although artists have often portrayed the soldier as a strong and heroic figure they can also serve to remind us of the trauma and sacrifice experienced by so many. This tension, between archetype and experience, provides the main thematic thrust of this exhibition and visitors to the exhibition will encounter a series of paintings, prints and mixed media art that explore these ideas in visual terms.
Robert has spent the last year in research, reflection, and experimenting with different painterly approaches in the studio. The discoveries he has made regarding the use of colour, collage and textured surfaces to interrupt the sense of the image have been important ways for him to invoke the emotional tone in material terms. Combining his enduring interest in the figure and figure groups with literary and artistic sources that include Velázquez‘s ‘Surrender at Breda’, ‘The Soldier of Marathon’ by Cortot, and Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ he has created an original body of work that transcends historical specifics.
By uniting these historic references with a contemporary approach to image-making his aim is to present the viewer with fresh opportunities for reflection on this ongoing and seemingly inescapable aspect of the human condition.
This exhibition is supported by an award from the Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust
Opening event: Saturday 9th June, 5pm to 7.30pm
A chance to meet the artist and discuss the work and refreshments will be served.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Poetry Reading: Sat 16th June, 3pm to 5pm
The poet Adrian Blamires will be reading his work in the Stanley Spencer Chapel and discussing the historical context of the show with Robert Fitzmaurice.