11. 3. 2006 - 22. 4. 2006
his paintings Samuel Herbert draw upon photographs from 19th and 20th
century archives, the film industry, historical sources and postcards,
to remake images of Britain’s imperial heritage, colonial history
and aristocracy. The results echo archaic genres of painting, eliciting
an uncomfortable empathy for groups associated with oppression. The images,
initially appearing to be from Victorian times, are often recreated from
documents within living memory. His
method is fastidious and laborious. His palette develops organically and
pragmatically in relation to the subject and scale of each work. The common
denominator between his reds, umbers, browns, and soft greys is that they
are all colours in relation with his subjects. His monochrome palettes
are “filters through which we can view these fictional worlds”.
works like "Tour of Duty", "Cluedo", "The Family",
"Vogue", look like they are covered by a transparent film. Herbert
avoids the sharpness in his paintings in an attempt to whitewash the heavy
image. To play with our sense of time, he represents the strong scenes
of the past with those that were reproduced in the film industry many
years later. For example in the “Tour of Duty”, the image
resembles the earliest photography from the 1860s, although the source
was actually a photograph taken in the 1960s.
Herbert likes to upset our expectation of what is historical and what contemporary. His protagonists are coming from the relatively recent past but they seem unfamiliar while the political references are presented crudely without political statements and judgements. Herbert reveals the full extent to which, as novelist LP Hartley has written, “the past is a foreign country”.
Sam Herbert was born in 1976. He studied at Goldsmith’s College and he lives and works in London. He has participated in many group exhibitions and his works belongs in many public and private collections.
"Cluedo", 2006, oil on canvas, 160x160 cm
"Tour of Duty", 2004, oil on canvas, 210x150 cm
"The family", 2006, oil on canvas, 180x140 cm
"Eye to eye", 2006, oil on canvas, 51x57 cm
"Vogue", 2006, oil on canvas, 107x61 cm
"The Director ", 2006, oil on canvas, 45x45 cm
"Untitiled", 2005-6, watercolor on paper, 15x20 cm each
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