The painting is back in the frame ... and the rising stars are mostly women | Painting | MCU Times

The painting is back in the frame … and the rising stars are mostly women | Painting

Forget the young British artists. The YBAs of the late 1990s and 00s, infamous by Damien Hirst with her pickled cow and Tracey Emin with her unmade bed, are now being supplanted by a youthful new artistic movement.

It is now the young British painters who are catching the attention and the cash, with some of their work raising more than £ 1m. A canvas. And not only are they young – about 30 – but most are women, and quite a few are black.

In the last few days, I get what she has, a painting by 31-year-old Flora Yukhnovich, sold at auction for £ 2.3m. Still, the suggested retail price was only £ 80,000.

Yukhnovich is inspired by Rococo-style artists from the 18th century. “I want people to have that ‘a-ha’ moment-a familiarity that gives you access to a work,” she says.

Another painting, Myths about pleasure, by 28-year-old black artist Jadé Fadojutimi, went for £ 1.2 million, while her The Barefooted Scurry Home was bought for more than £ 800,000. From April 2022, two dozen of her works will be on display at the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, where she will be the youngest artist in the Yorkshire space to have her own exhibition. “Of course, the prices at auction are now staggering,” says Pippy Houldsworth, who looks after Fadojutimi through her Mayfair gallery. “The market is crazy, but it seems that there is no upper limit for collectors with deep pockets. It has also been virtually impossible for the last two or three years to get hold of a work by Jadé. “The waiting list runs into the hundreds.

Jadé Fadojutimi's Cavernous Resonance, 2020, is in the Mixing It Up: Painting Today show at the Hayward Gallery in London.
Jadé Fadojutimi’s Cavernous Resonance, 2020, is in the Mixing It Up: Painting Today show at the Hayward Gallery in London. Photo: © Jadé Fadojutimi (2021). Greetings artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London

The Pippa Houldsworth Gallery represents mainly women. “They have been ignored and underrepresented for too long,” she says. “But now they have strong voices. Just look at the latest auction records for young painters and they are almost all women. ”

It is not only collectors who are eager for paintings. Witness the success of two major shows currently running in London-RA’s annual summer exhibition (held this autumn, after Covid) and Hayward Gallery’s Mixing It Up, where 31 contemporary British painters have exhibited their work. Both exhibitions, which are full of vibrant colors, have been critically acclaimed and attract a large number of visitors.

Some at Hayward are well-established artists like Peter Doig and Rose Wylie, but most are lesser known, like Fadojutimi, as well as other thirty things, including Louise Giovanelli, who works in Manchester, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, who was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa, from which she came to Britain, and American-born and now London-based Issy Wood, one of whose works, Eggplant / car interior, sold this month for £ 327,000.

Ralph Rugoff, director of Hayward, points out that more than half of the paintings in his exhibition are of women. “But if I had set up this show 30 years ago, it would have been mainly by white, male, English-born artists. My feeling is that the public and buyers like what I would call the magical quality of the painting – the relationship between color and scale. ”

Eliza Bonham Carter, head of the Royal Academy Schools, agrees. “Maybe there is a longing for something bright in the time we live in. During lockdown, people have also been online to see art and found it easier to look at paintings. ”

Rachel Jones, who was on RA School’s postgraduate course and is one of the Mixing It Up artists, speaks for herself about “the emotional possibilities of color and how color communicates”.

Bira, 2019, by Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, who is one of 31 artists in Hayward Gallery's Mixing It Up show.
Bira, 2019, by Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, who is one of 31 artists in Hayward Gallery’s Mixing It Up show. Photo: © Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. Greetings artist and Victoria Miro

Still, it’s exciting, Rugoff adds, that many of these young artists were discouraged at school and art college from drawing and painting, as these skills are often considered quite bourgeois. “They’ve come up against the odds.”

It is also interesting that despite the problems of Brexit and Covid, so many talented young painters work in the UK. Rugoff makes an analogy with the pop music of the 1960s in Liverpool and in Manchester a decade or so.

“Like back then, this is one of those moments in time where individuals seem to gather somewhere and then inspire and encourage other similar talents. This generation of artists all have painting tools and know the color ratio. They also treat the canvas as a landing pad. ”

Ironically, since Covid had shut out some smaller galleries, it is the larger ones with punch and cash that have often picked up and promoted much of this young painting talent.

But is this renaissance in painting a transient trend? “Well, painting has been declared dead many times before,” says Bonham Carter, a painter himself. “But it has always been resurrected.”

Tell that to the Turner Prize judges, who for the past decade and more have largely ignored painting. This year, they have deliberately chosen five different collectives for their very ridiculous shortlist. Are they unaware of the current huge success of the young British painters?

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