Born in Sheffield in 1927, Greaves rose to prominence in the 1950s as a leading member of the ‘Kitchen Sink’ group, a group of painters, all students of the Royal College of Art, whose other members included Jack Smith, John Bratby and Edward Middleditch, with whom Greaves represented Britain at the 1956 Venice Biennale.
Greaves has taught painting at St Martin’s School of Art (1954-64), Maidstone College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools and was Head of Printmaking at Norwich School of Art (1983-91). He continues to live and work in Norfolk.
‘Milestones’ showcases a selection of new work by Greaves, idiosyncratic yet often intertextual paintings which synthesise aspects of the artist’s practice of the last decade- linear drawing and flat painting using a combination of acrylic and wet charcoal on canvas, and yet playfully deconstruct, as in ‘Marine’, historic modernist works of art.
In ‘Marine’, Greaves re-visits an earlier theme of seaside and beach based activity, producing a linear tribute to Picasso’s dynamic, infectiously exuberant and incredibly free-spirited, ‘Women Running on the Beach’ (1924), created as a backdrop for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, ‘Le Train Bleu’.
Other of my favourites include ‘Bunker I’, an abstract, impression in luminous lime green and vivid blue of a mean looking building dwarfed by tall reedy trunks and ‘Two Cafetières’, a delightfully simple composition in which two coffee pots appear framed against a delicately dissected orange-red floral background.
A vibrant and truly refreshing aesthetic experience that’s definitely worth a visit.
‘Milestones’ runs until 22nd June
All images courtesy of James Hyman Fine Art © Derrick Greaves