Patrick Heide Contemporary Art presents ‘Happy Days’, a guest artist exhibition of recent paintings, prints and drawings by Michael Roberts, curated by Marianne Magnin.
Robert’s body of work has a strong graphic and pop sensibility. Direct, colourful and brutally honest, it is childishly joyful. At the same time, it expresses his outrage at injustice and offers a strident commentary about environmental and political issues. The transmission of his images is vibrant and striking. Where you find subtlety, you will find humour, but more often than not you will find a strong, direct, exuberant, angry message in an explosion of primary colours with a bouquet of text to accompany them.
Humour is steeped into a macabre discourse reminiscent of Mardi Gras’ transgressions and James Ensor’s grotesque depiction of our world’s drifting. There is simplified imagery in the manner of Philip Guston’s late period and of Looney Tunes. Roberts’s painterly quest led him to the Chicago Imagists, who have been a continual influence on his practice. His works comment on establishment failures and our insecurities and fears.
“My primary concerns are with narrative, surface, repetition, layering and colour, influenced by comic books. Often the beginning of work is gleaned from observed situations, books read, mundane encounters, the jetsam and flotsam of everyday life. Once embedded, a process of evaluation begins, weighing up and worrying, formulating a working narrative until the inception. My concerns are with the human condition and this remains constant throughout my practice”Michael Roberts
There is generosity, to be found in the imagination, materials and techniques deployed. Up close, complexity and precision unfold. The works hover between abstraction and figuration, never repeating themselves, individually constructed by using a wide range of textures and components, from oil, ink, resin, glitter, glass beads, gold leaves to felt, dust and found wires.
Scenarios are created to examine our anxieties and fears, places are both familiar and uncomfortable. The architecture is prosaic, almost banal, the landscapes indeterminate, events are given space to unfold. These paintings act as modern fables for our uncertain and fractured times.Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts, HAPPY DAYS, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, 25th March – 1st April 2023, Private View Saturday 25th March, 2.00pm onwards, Artist talk Saturday 1st April, 3.00pm
Roberts, born in England, gained an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art, London and a BA from Nottingham Trent University. He exhibits internationally and teaches on the Fine Art MA at the Arts
University Bournemouth UK. He works between London, England and Provence, France.