29 July 2009- 20 September 2009
Pump House Gallery continues its commitment to providing emerging artists their first significant London solo show with the presentation of Robert Stone's curiously titled exhibition ‘Polka Fever’.
Stone’s paintings, executed with a distinctive and eccentric painterly technique, weave whimsical scenarios - strange protagonists and their foolish displays of flamboyance are frozen in moments of time. Tragicomic characters, or as the artist describes 'a lineage of fictional idiots whose trivial action is fraught with calamity' frequently hover in Romantic landscapes or pastel toned skies, that borrow as much from Oriental as English landscape painting traditions.
An eclectic range of references and influences converge in Stone's artistic practice from high end fashion, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Bryan Ferry as well as nods to painters such as Henri Rousseau and his primitive style, the vignettes of Edward Burra and the early renaissance Italian painters Fra Filippo Lippi and Giovanni di Paolo. These references emerge in the most peculiar of subject matter – fashionably clad characters parachuting, a gorilla being stood up on a blind date, women stranded on lake of floating pool tables and a gentlemen burning all his worldly belongings in a bath.
Technically adept Stone favours a more faux-naïve approach giving his work a particular rakish charm. Much of his new work has a wistful and dream-like quality, as the artist states: 'with hindsight the most successful paintings seem to be the ones that confuse me, when I can't remember if I've invented the image or remembered it. Pictures that are entertaining and embarrassing are the ones that work best for me.’
Robert Stone was born in London in 1981. He graduated with a Masters from Slade School of Fine Art in 2005 and was selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries. He also took part in the artist residency project ‘Take Over’ at Pump House Gallery in 2007. Since then he has painted for intense periods of time, working primarily in Berlin and Zurich. Stone has work in private and museum collections in UK, Germany, Italy, United States and Tasmania.