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De Brock is pleased to present its second exhibition with Lawrence Calver, opening on June 8th.

For his second solo exhibition at De Brock, British artist Lawrence Calver presents a selection of artworks from his ongoing series of Sail Paintings, poised to transport the viewer on a maritime tale told through textiles. A self-styled searcher and scavenger, the artist’s practice has long relied upon reclaimed, recycled and repurposed fabrics. Swathes and swatches amassed over time, selected due to the still prevalent potency of their prior purpose. Utilitarian usages as carpets, clothing, tapestries, tarpaulins, flags, bags and even parachutes expose the customs, cultures and craft techniques that marked their original making. Now, following Calver’s enrolment on numerous artist residencies in the past few years - from Lisbon to Los Angeles, Cape Town to Tuscany via the French Riviera - as well as his own self-initiated exploration of South-East Asia, never-more has the title of artistic adventurer appeared so apt.

Calver’s background in fashion direction (London College of Fashion) exposed the artist to the potential of textiles as a story-telling device, as well as the enduring importance of traditional techniques and their power when paired with a contemporary eye. Allowing the preexisting warp and the weft of the weave to dictate his compositions as much as his own sewing and stitching, the artist enters into a collaboration with the found fabrics and collaged cloths at his disposal, aligned with the ‘objet trouvé’ conventions popularised by Picasso, Duchamp and the Dada movement. Embracing improvisation, Calver creates color through the use of experimental and unpredictable dying and staining, the outcome often uncertain, dictated by time as much as the artist's own intention.

Through a process of repetitive making and remaking, the sail as both source material and subject has become a preeminent preoccupation of Calver practice in recent years. That simple study of a sailboat, its seafaring silhouette instantly recognisable, is broken down and distilled until only the sail exists, dominating the canvas expanse. Rust stains and rope burn retain the evidence of their nautical past, imbuing the artworks with a physicality similar to that of sculpture. As much sail as painting, just as Richard Smith’s renowned Kite Paintings were as much painting as kite. Alongside, the dyed blue expanse of Fluffy Cloud (2023) serves as the exhibition’s horizon line where sea meets sky, dictating the direction of travel.

Ultimately, the Sail Paintings mark a return to Calver’s early interest in modernism, combining a minimalist approach to material; a refined, restrained color palette; idiosyncratic compositional perspectives; and a liberal exchange of positive and negative space.

The opening reception will be held in presence of the artist from noon till three pm, please email us for additional information.