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Basil Beattie

12 April 11 May 2013

Hilton Fine Art, Bath

Hilton Fine Art is very proud to present this exhibition of paintings and drawings by

Basil Beattie, his first exhibition in Britain since his show at Tate Britain in 2007.

Basil Beattie is one of Britain’s most respected abstract painters. A mongst others, his

work is in the collections of The Tate, Saatchi Gallery and the Arts Council. He

studied at West Hartlepool College of Art, 1955 and at the Royal Academy Schools,

London. He taught at Goldsmiths College London form the 1960s 1990s where he

taught the Y B As and gained a strong following amongst fellow artists. W hilst

teaching at Goldsmiths Beattie became more and more aware of conceptual ideas that

place language as central to contemporary art practice and challenge the importance

of the expressive gesture in painting. Since 1987, seeking to get away from pure

abstraction, he has developed a pictographic language which enables him to explore

the symbolic and metaphorical associations that arise from these, whilst remaining

committed to the physicality of the painted object as the means through which to

decipher meaning.

This show at Hilton Fine Art deals with Beatties current paintings which have the

collective title of the Janus series. Janus was the Roman God, originally of light, who

opened the sky at daybreak and closed it at sunset. In time, he came to preside over all

entrances and exits. He is often represented as having two faces, one in front and one

behind, one to see into the future, and one to see into the past. In this series Beattie

uses a stack of three units, sometimes four, to frame a series of horizons, often with

perspectival suggestions of travel and journeys. However any resulting illusion of

space is contradicted by the raw physicality of the paint. It has been suggested the

framing units resemble rear view mirrors and windscreens. Beattie recognises and

accepts these references simply because the view through the windscreen might be

said to denote the future and the view in the rear view mirror, the past.

A powerful show by one of Britains foremost painters, as the Guardian art critic

Adrian Searle puts it … … Looking at Beatties painting is a physical encounter,

concrete and palpable as well as being an event which takes part in the eye and the