M aka Michael Chow: Bridges

M Michael Chow,Waddinton Custot Galleries

This November, Waddington Custot presents the first UK solo exhibition in nearly 60 years by Michael Chow (b.1939, Shanghai, China), also known by his signature name ‘M’.

Six large-scale paintings are presented alongside a number of “One Breath” works on paper. M’s process is highly performative and unique, adding layer upon layer of paint and other matter onto the surface plane to create works that are both painterly and sculptural. M creates the three-dimensional forms first by pouring household paint, which forms giant sheets of colour. He then sculpts the paint sheets onto the canvas, a technique he started over 60 years ago.
M incorporates a multitude of found materials into his work – including leaves, eggs, footballs, sterling silver and gold leaf. Painted plastic sheets are stretched onto the canvas and burnt into the surface with a blow torch used like a brush. In a single explosive gesture, M hammers a large wooden mallet down onto deep pools of acrylic paint and whole eggs, splashing them across the canvas. The collaging of these multiple materials and techniques is a natural choice for M. “In collaging, you can put things together that shouldn’t be together, and that’s my life.”

M first trained as a painter at St Martin’s School of Art and worked as an artist for the first decade of his career, between 1956 and 1968. Exhibitions include RBA Young Contemporaries (1957 and 1958), Redfern Gallery (1958) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1964). A work from his Redfern show was bought by MoMA and his work was well received by his peers, including Peter Blake and Richard Lin. From 1968 M channelled his creativity into a group of highly successful restaurants in London and the USA, transforming the experience of dining into a nightly theatrical performance. Such drama and spontaneity are key elements throughout M’s practice, something he owes to his father, the grandmaster of Beijing Opera and national treasure, Zhou Xinfang

Duration 18 November 2022 - 14 January 2023
Times Monday to Friday, 10am–6pm; Saturday: 11am–6pm
Cost Free
Venue Waddington Custot Galleries
Address 11 Cork Street, London, W1S 3LT
Contact / mail@waddingtoncustot.com / www.waddingtoncustot.com