note_10 Rose, Feet First – Roy Oxlade catalogue, Odette Gilbert Gallery, 1987

Feet First Roy Oxlade 1986

Feet First Roy Oxlade 48×60 1986

I stumbled upon two folders that I have not seen/touched for maybe 15 years and found a lot of nice things; postings from Sebastian Horsley, exhibition cards/list from Birch & Conran, the Basquiat publications from Serpentine Gallery 1996, a letter of departure from Grant Watson, a copy of UNDERCUT the London Filmmakers’ Coop magazine, number 17 with transcriptions of the entire Cultural Identities 4-day screenings/discussion from 1986 (w Jean Rouch, Black Audio, Sankofa, Rose, Spivak, Mercer, Gidal…), other catalogues of The Music of Cornelius Cardew at SBC (Fri. 13 Dec 1991), from Nicola Durvasula and Liza May Post…

Plus! a 1987 catalogue from Odette Gilbert Gallery on Cork Street of a Roy Oxlade show. I can only share this out of an enthusiastic rescratching-back-together of things. Of course the paintings contain Rose Wylie, as many of them as you would expect, and during her relatively recent arrival (is that ok?) I did find myself groping for what I knew I knew somewhere in my mind about Oxlade. Their work has obvious similarities and obvious distinctions, I am in no way undermining or relativising or in fact doing* anything!

Yellow Lamp Roy Oxlade 1985

Yellow Lamp Roy Oxlade 48×60 1985

In 1987 you could see almost literally everything on show in London quite easily and I guess that I saw a lot of it en route. All those galleries that had opened along or around Portobello, for example, a little before this time (more W11 than NW10, no?), seems so strange now or at any time this century. File under occasional great advantages of being incredibly ancient… Artist/student friends compared it to NY’s East Village in its mid-80s incarnation …

Rose, Feet First Roy Oxlade 1985

Rose, Feet First Roy Oxlade 30×22 1985

I think these Oxlade’s are quite special, interesting, though only one snapshot (yes, apologies for image quality). Has there ever been a decently-scaled retrospective of his work? Would it be interesting? Is their any scope in a (really smart) show of Oxlade and Wylie? Are there too many backfiring traps in such a thought or project? I genuinely don’t know, am asking for a friend…

Beside The Sea Roy Oxlade 1984

Beside The Sea Roy Oxlade 48×60 1984

Meanwhile, just two little over-looked/forgotten folders … so much else and more and gosh. I only stumbled on them after half-watching a documentary about La Monte Young and Terry Riley a few weeks ago in the midst of late-night editing on a roll of 16-17 hour days… I had no idea -never wondered!- what LMY looked like now, having first encountered him also in the late mid-80s, at the old DIA in Chelsea where he seemed firmly part of the established world one was beginning to enter properly…

A huge-seeming installation, purple? rooms, some standing some sitting … I kind of reached for a catalogue or similar and then realised how unlikely it was that I could locate such a thing. One or a couple of quick/desperate thoughts landed on the two folders … I will find or look for it, some day. .. Meanwhile, I’m happy to have sketchily re-located La Monte Young and to be more intrigued now than I was then…

Feet first always.

One thought on “note_10 Rose, Feet First – Roy Oxlade catalogue, Odette Gilbert Gallery, 1987

  1. “The late Roy Oxlade’s canvases, like those of his wife Rose Wylie, were out of step with various movements in painting throughout his lifetime. But since his death in 2014, his work is rightly being re-examined and, as the show at Alison Jacques Gallery (until 11 January; free) proves, it seems more in tune with younger painters today than those artists who were were far more prominent in his lifetime, like the School of London and the Neo-Expressionists. Emblematic of the informal quirkiness of his work is the painting Potato, Rose (around 1982), in which the silhouette of a potato hovers over a loosely blocked-in figure of Wylie, against a background charged with vivid colour and energetic painterly gesture. Oxlade admired Philip Guston, and there is a similar delight in the everyday stuff around him at home and in the studio—saucepans, scissors, dishes and lightbulbs. But while Oxlade’s paintings harness Guston’s pronounced absurdity, they far from ape the American’s style: the colours are broader, the language more diffuse and varied, the compositions less graphic, often teetering on the brink of chaos. These paintings, and Oxlade’s similarly spontaneous and vigorous drawings, were done between the 1980s and 2006. But with their enthralling freshness, they could have been made yesterday.” The Art Newspaper:

    Alison Jacques Gallery:

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