David Hepher: Untitied MFC, 2013
According to their traditional image, artists invest minimal time in deciding what to wear, and change their ‘look’ rather less often than Lady Gaga… All the same, I was impressed when David Hepher told me he’d been wearing the three piece suit he sported at his opening at Flowers Gallery for sixty years! Painter Virginia Verran, who was there too, mentioned that she’d once sought to date a Bruce Bernard photograph of Frank Auerbach by phone, helpfully explaining that ‘you’re wearing a brown corduroy jacket’. That, he said, narrowed it down to the preceding four decades. As for the show (‘Town and Country’ to 29 March), it’s a knock-out in scale and ambition and proves Hepher to be the oldest graffitist in town – or country – and one who uses it to celebratory effect rather than to invoke social dysfunction. ‘Town’ is represented by his familiar concrete-infused paintings of brutalist tower blocks, spiced with painterly markings which include a slightly Braquian bird: that’s a recent discovery (Hepher photographs graffiti as he travels to build his repertoire) which invokes nature rather neatly. ‘Country’ sees simple landscapes from South-West France which incorporate the local soil and – in a new move – are daubed with appropriate graffiti finds of flowers and the sun. So, not only do town and country have their own inner logic, the distance between them is collapsed by the shared language of the street.
David Hepher: Le Champ Grand with Sun and Sunflowers, 2012
Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in Surrey. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?