Derek Ogbourne’s paintings are all played out over the same unforgiving, flat, neutral grey ground. On this constant, minimal surface, each work is a unique arrangement and assortment of elemental gestures in thick paint. One is immediately aware of its physical presence, of how the paint has been worked, dolloped, moved and dragged.
These legacies of the artist’s hand both suggest untamed formlessness and yet they form constructions in space. As one mark connects to another we anthropomorphise eyes, limbs, bones in surreally impossible architectural arrangements. There are sometimes suggestions of shadows that in turn imply a pictorial logic of both depth and gravity, which is then denied by the flatness of the ground.
This is a lexicon of abstract gestural painting is presented as calligraphic, illegible signs that float on the surface of the canvas. They are sometimes figurative without form – figures and animal parts that have yet to find their configuration in space – and at other times no more than gestures awaiting interpretation.
Written by Richard Ducker
Ogbourne’s oeuvre is multi-faceted and difficult to define. His periods of production can be broken down to large organic paintings (early 1980s), interactive art installations (late 1980s), performance art (1990s), video and filmic narrative explorations (2000s to the present), and his museum installation entitled The Museum of Optography (2007- 2016) (museumofoptography.net) A return to painting from 2017 culminated in his Lockdown Series of 2020.
Derek Ogbourne studied at Slade School of Fine Art in London (1981-89). While he was at UCL, he was awarded the Rosa Morison and Jeremy Cubbit prizes. He teaches at Hampstead School of Art and occasionally at the Slade, while he has been visiting lecturer at most London Art schools including Goldsmiths and the Royal Academy. Exhibitions include What Makes Me, What Makes You at the South London Gallery, Space International, Valencia, Spain and the Museum of Optography, The Purple Chamber at Sharjah Foundation, UAE. Derek Ogbourne lives and works in London and is represented by Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Cologne https://www.galerieschenk.de/artists