With a nod to St Moritz famous son, the painter Giovanni Segantini, Billy Childish has made a series of works that celebrate universal beauty through the subjugation of the ego and the mystery of the mark. Like Segantini, Childish is occupied with the transformation of the earthbound into the spiritual, developing a pictorial language that honours both the figurative form and elemental abstract make-up of his paintings: Evoking the fragmentary vibrations of matter and man’s longing for the experience of pure nature. The eponymous work ”walking in gods buti“ is a large scale double portrait of the artist – walking out of the painting – along a woodland path holding his young daughter’s hand. Directly opposite hangs a full portrait of Segantini stood like some mighty Old Testament prophet with fearsome beard and hunting eagle beneath his arm. At ground level are paintings made in homage to two other artists that Childish declares allegiance with. Above the altar the dynamic L’Erection de la Croix after Peter Paul Rubens, and opposite The Good Samaritan by Eugene Delacroix; notably also painted by Vincent van Gogh. Through these paintings and others in his oeuvre, Childish engages with his own direct experience and the spirit of those he feels in communion with.
”I feel myself joined with all the artists I admire. I also feel myself not one jot less but equal to them all. I am a radical traditionalist; past present and future worlds are collapsed into the ever present now. Far from tradition being limiting, tradition brings the freedom from ‘the little self’ from which the universal is known. I don’t reinvent the wheel. Segantini becomes my friend as Van Gogh is my friend, and as they loved Millet and Delacroix and celebrated that love, so they love and celebrate me. In this way an artist finds love in the creation and the creator: Each artist is everything and nothing, passing the torch ever on from the caves to now and back again.“
Billy Childish, June 2014http://www.paolocurti.comhttp://www.neugerriemschneider.com
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