Clive Head is a British artist born in Kent in 1965. Head is predominantly concerned with the challenge of being a painter in the modern world. His explorations in the studio, curiosity and critical engagement are marked by a constantly evolving practice. His work has been exhibited at galleries and art fairs across the United Kingdom, United States, Europe and Asia and features in notable private and public collections worldwide.
Head first gained prominence in the 1990s for his hyper-real urban landscapes which were laced with the pictorial aesthetics from art history. Principally, Head has never conceived his work as a documentary realism. Even the most exacting paintings from this period do not directly record a scene from real life; they are always fictive, coloured and layered.
In 2005, Head began to make ever more complex paintings founded on his own experiments with spatial mathematics. Rejecting the conventions of perspective, the resulting panoramas seamlessly merged different spaces into plausible but impossible totalities. These apparently trouble-free urban vistas were built from a spatial framework which embraced mathematics, chaos theory and fuzzy logic.
In 2014, Head initiated a new investigation that began to break the seamless space of the paintings from the previous few years. He abandoned his enquiries into mathematics for an entirely free-fall and intuitive response to painting. He has described this period as re-connecting with the spirit of his student days in the 1980s where he painted instinctively under the tutelage of the abstract painter David Tinker.
The paintings from this period to the present day have evolved into an overt palimpsest of spaces and colliding time-frames which might superficially recall futurist and cubist painting. But their defining feature is an abundance of unfolding metamorphic imagery, discovered through the act of painting itself. Not only are these paintings a more comprehensive resolution of Head’s life experiences and his dreams, fears and fantasies, the outcomes seem to have limitless possibilities for those willing to give them time.
These new paintings are the consequence of Head working in an empty space with only his oil paints and blank canvas. The imagery is the consequence of Head’s memories and imaginings coupled to his manipulation of paint. Head seems now to be more concerned with alchemy than mathematics.