Simon Lewty

Serpentine South Gallery 5–27 Oct 1985 Free

This exhibition was the first time Simon Lewty’s work had been shown in London.

The Warwickshire-born artist Lewty is known for his large drawings and paintings that often integrate text, image, and maps.

Writing about Lewty’s works from the 1980s-90s in Time Out magazine in 2010, Gabriel Coxhead described his “large, diagrammatic compositions, where cellular, amoebic blobs occasionally mutate into discernable figurative forms, such as flattened faces or weird-limbed bodies, mixing with dense pockets of writing and bits of arcane looking, numerological graffiti. Klee and Miró are the obvious touchstones – but besides this surrealist legacy there’s also the sense of something antiquarian or cartographic. The works are on paper, wadded together into thick layers and coated in varnish so that they seem like ancient parchments, cracked, dirty and ragged at the edges, with Lewty’s use of ink and paint further evoking the intricate illuminations of medieval manuscripts.”

The work on display in the Serpentine exhibition included Is This the Long Road? and, along with a selection of recent work, offered a first opportunity for London audiences to engage with Lewty’s curious and fascinating practice.

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