A Slice of London
30 April – 21 May 2009
Art First, The Forge, St Mary's Walk, London
About the exhibition
Art First is pleased to present Kimberley Gundle's recent paintings, which pay tribute to the city that inspires her, and in which she has lived for nearly twenty years.
In a sequence of 'slices' she isolates particular London characters, placing them against exuberant backgrounds of pure flat colour. Only a narrow strip of detail evokes their immediate 'environment'.
The urban context ranges from the doorman at the Savoy Hotel to a Camden Town punk, from skateboarders on the South Bank to a commuter reading his newspaper on the underground. Teenage girls and homeless youths, elderly commissionaires and savvy outsiders are the inhabitants of most cities, but there is something in each of these works that evokes London in particular.
Gundle always talks to the people she paints. This is what gives each 'sitter' such a definite sense of personality – the clues of their clothing, be it an entire uniform or a crucial handbag, speak volumes about what is important to them in their world. The faceless doorman at the Savoy Hotel tells us as much about how we perceive people in uniforms as it works to focus our attention on his main activity; hailing cabs and opening doors.
In this series Gundle has moved on from her intense observations of particulars – the shoes in her portraits 'below the knee' or the lived-in close up faces of the elderly – to focus on entire figures, taking them out of London's crowded zones of activity and examining them as individuals, caught in interaction, yet isolated in their own silent worlds.
Gundle trained at the Slade School of Art, after completing her first degree in Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. She lives and works in London.