Frith Street Gallery has announced an exhibition of new paintings by the Scottish painter Callum Innes. One of the most important painters of his generation, Innes is known for a practice that combines intellectual rigour with incredible sensitivity to his chosen medium. Innes is a Scottish abstract painter, a former Turner Prize nominee and winner of the Jerwood Painting Prize. The artist began exhibiting in the mid-to-late 1980s and in 1992 had two major exhibitions in public galleries, at the ICA, London, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Since then he has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout Britain, Europe, North America, New Zealand and Asia.
At first glance, the artist’s paintings appear deceptively straightforward, an artist with a seemingly abstract practice. Innes started out as a figurative painter, and recalls travelling to London on the “slow” bus and seeing the work of Barnett Newman at the Tate. The artist’s work “only slowly evolved to abstraction.” Innes edits his work rigorously, in much the same way as stories claim that Francis Bacon disposed of large quantities of his paintings during his career due to a general dissatisfaction, and a desire to keep the perceived standard of the work at a certain cultural height. For this artist it is “to take the work forward you have to make a lot of paintings, to find the rightness.”
Innes tends to work alternately on a number of different series at once. To echo the artist’s process, this exhibition presents works from the Untitled series and the Resonance series with works ranging from deep black to almost pristine white.
This exhibition also focuses on works from the artist’s celebrated Exposed Paintings series. These paintings are created through a process of addition and subtraction. The artist applies progressive layers of paint to a section of the canvas’ surface often creating a field of black paint. Part of this layer is then removed using turpentine to reveal the constituent colours underneath, Innes subtracts, and strips away the paint, at once revealing the works painterly topography, and the history of his process. The residue of this particular practice stains the canvas with a veil of luminous pigment. The exhibition contains a number of large Exposed Paintings that feature the colour violet.
Callum Innes – Frith Street Gallery – 13 March 2015 to 24 April 2015