For twenty years The Albemarle Gallery, founded and directed by Tony Pontone, represented an international stable of painters and sculptors in Mayfair. Showcasing highly-crafted artworks by technically-accomplished representational artists, The Albemarle Gallery became synonymous with the very best in contemporary figurative art.
Now, The Albemarle has a new home at Pontone Gallery. Under the directorship of Domenic Pontone, the gallery begins anew with a programme of contemporary shows at Pontone Gallery’s Chelsea space.
The Albemarle Shows will uphold the distinctive character of The Albemarle and will run in conjunction with the contemporary exhibitions at Pontone Gallery. This first exhibition in the series presents a cross-section of artists working in The Albemarle’s original spirit, among whom are winners of some of the UK’s most coveted art prizes.
Miriam Escofet is the winner of the 2018 BP Portrait Award. She paints in the meticulously realised tradition of Van Eyck, deploying exquisitely rendered detail to construct intriguing stories. Close attention to her subject and her expert handling of light and shade makes for images of ethereal and luminous presence.
Caroline Burraway, recent winner of the prestigious Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize (formerly known as the Jerwood Prize), makes emotionally powerful, large-scale, charcoal portraits. Her accomplished draughtsmanship, subtle tonal handling and dramatic use of ‘chiaroscuro’ articulate images of sombre and profound human dignity.
Neil Douglas paints atmospheric scenes of nature and landscape: the flower blossom paintings reference a Japanese tradition, while the landscapes evoke the spirit of nineteenth-century, European romanticism. His skilfully handled surfaces and harmonious compositions construct eloquent images of contemplative stillness.
Sukhi Barber makes sculptures of the body, cast in the elemental material of the foundry. These subtle and sensitive bronze symbols of meditation, derived from the artist’s long immersion in the artistic and spiritual culture of the Indian subcontinent, investigate motifs of transcendence and transformation.
Bae Joonsung is an award-winning, South Korean artist. He converts his paintings to ‘lenticular’ prints, which allow another image to be revealed as the viewer changes their angle of vision. Making reference to well-known historical paintings, his pictures flip teasingly between past and present, reality and artifice, the clothed and the naked.
Iain Faulkner, recently appointed an ‘ambassador for Scotland’ for The Prince’s Trust, is an expert composer of the ‘mise-en-scène’. Typically, his compositions feature a solitary male at ease in an intriguing setting, as if enjoying a strategic interlude. These ‘illustrated pauses’ hint at unknown potential and the possibility of explosive action.
In keeping with The Albemarle’s tradition, these artists hold to a belief in a heightened form of representational reality, one that effectively and seductively projects their ideas. These are virtuoso performances that bring delight to the eye and stimulation to the mind.