Hobson’s Choice: Robert Fry at Mews42 Gallery

31 October 2011 By
R0bert Fry at Mews42 Gallery

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, recommends his favourite exhibition of the week.

Robert Fry at MEWS42 Gallery

23 September – 27 November 2011

MEWS42 Gallery, 42 Princes Gate Mews, London SW7 2PR

Viewing is by appointment, to visit call Jesper Thomsen on 07980 000 264 or email jt@mews42.com


May I strongly recommend you take a look at the work of a young British artist, Robert Fry who is currently showing a body of paintings and etchings in a small gallery in a sleepy South Kensington mews, called MEWS42. I enjoyed his work enormously. Fry’s paintings are primarily of figurative motifs on large-scale canvases – in a palette of deep purples and blood reds, with flashes of white, yellow and cobalt blue – where the form of the figure is reduced to a type of stain, rendered in flat outlines and expressionistic brushstrokes and patterns. More like an impression left by a subject leaning against a canvas, the figures suggest absence rather than presence and are evacuated to the point of abstraction, with outlined areas filled in with pools of flat colour or alluded to by erratic, gestural marks. The canvases are bordered with banners of repetitious ‘outsider art’ type text in bright garish colours, running over-excitedly along the base of the paintings – psychological states like `panic’ and `brain lock’ – in obsessive childlike scribbles, suggesting a schoolroom blackboard left to the mercy of unauthorised hands. Conjuring up associations of early Hockney and Bacon, Twombly and Basquiat, Fry’s visual vocabulary feels intuitively familiar but with the boldness and discipline that suggests a real contemporary talent.

Image: Robert Fry, RED 10, 2010, Mixed media, 198 x 285cm (detail) courtesy the artist and Mews42 Gallery