Monday, April 22, 2024

Edward Povey

Edward Povey was born in London, England in 1951, the only child of a merchant seaman and a seamstress. He studied at the Eastbourne College for Art and Design in  England and at the University of Wales in North Wales. 1972-1978
Between 1975 and 1981 he came to the attention of the British media as a muralist, completing 25 internal and external murals up to five stories in height, in Israel, Wales and England.
Between 1983 and 1988 he painted  and studied symbolism on the Caribbean island of Grenada, and learned under the Danish architectural abstractionist Paul Klose, and the art dealer Jan de Maere in Brussels. From 1991 he showed with John Whitney Payson in New York beside Paul Cadmus, Jack Levine and Michael Bergt and successively with galleries in The Hague, Paris, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, New Orleans, West Palm Beach and London, up to the present. 

In 2008 he was proposed for a knighthood for his contribution to art in Britain by the Chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and others. In 2019 the British Library documented his career for the nation. In 2012 the Museum of Modern Art in Wales published a biography of Povey’s life and work up to that point. In 2018 Povey studied Raphael’s Ansidei Madonna in the National Gallery in London, using Ghiotto’s and Raphael’s Verdaccio palette for his new paintings which he termed Emotional Realism. Between 2019 and 2023 Povey appeared in many publications and interviews  in Spain, Poland, the United States, Egypt, England, Italy, France and Brazil.

His paintings hang in museum collections, private and corporate collections in thirty countries. Since 2021 he has shown with Waterhouse & Dodd in New York. His current Solo Exhibition: “HUMAN”, 5th October – 3rd November 2023. 15 East 76th Street, New York, NY 10021. T: 212 717 9100.  Edward Povey is currently beginning a new collection of paintings in his studio in the Devon countryside of England.

SEINE, 2023. Edward Povey, Oil on Belgian linen 170.0 X 170 cm / 67 X 67 in. More information from Waterhouse & Dodd, New York. “In civilised societies human beings devise traditions and ceremonies to safely contain meaningfulness in the desert night. Romance, religion, families, paintings and films are all ceremonies of meaning. Even boxes and vases contain what otherwise disperses beyond our control, like emotions in a thunderstorm. We are so very vulnerable, and to have seen the same chair since our childhood, the same parent, the same sky above us remaining and remaining. It is this that calms the chaos. When a couple dances to the trickling pulse of soft rock, bleeding out of a out of a midwestern late radio station, moving slowly beside the long porch window, another couple dance in the reflected glass – and that is my painting. They will always move in a dim tandem with us, twin sisters, identical brothers. Immortal tricks of the light. Paintings are altars, objects and artefacts far stronger than the buildings that host them, because they have centuries in their pockets. This painting groups all that is, for all intents and circumstances, unnecessary and transitory: the aging chair, the little vase of flowers, the ramekin of glacé cherries, the teaspoon of blood, the distracted middle-aged woman. Only a human being can appreciate that these objects are in fact precious and cherished, beautiful and indispensable.”
DEFINITIE, 2023. Edward Povey, Oil on linen, 200 X 200 cm / 79 X 79 inches. Modelling courtesy of London model Emily Poynton. Photograph of Baroness Ersilia La Lomia, Sicily, courtesy of her niece, Marzia Caramazza. More information from Waterhouse & Dodd, New York. “Paintings explain themselves just as the silhouette of an arguing couple does, gesturing in a midsummer alleyway viewed from a passing train. Sunday, south London, the hot streets empty, a couple drawing lines in their lives. The English say ‘Double Dutch’, meaning ‘inexplicable’, however the Dutch word ‘Definitie’ means ‘Definition’ in English. Defined and explained, like aphorisms acquired across a lifetime. Limes discarded across a table, and a glass of tea abandoned precariously, the bowl of mother’s teaspoon enlarged and disfigured in a rusty dream. Marzia’s grandmother, beautiful and romantic in a former time, arm in arm with demobbed sailors celebrating on the Via Bruno Buozzi in Genoa, and her memory pinned up with my writing, from yesterday in the studio. The figure is everything, as are we all. Our memories and concerns, our buried longings and private thoughts. Our ambitions in an ever-dwindling life. Our sense of humour and the beliefs we carry under our declared beliefs. This is what our arms encircle when we embrace someone, and this is the complexity of their definition.”
SOUS LE CERVEAU, 2022. Edward Povey, Oil on Belgian linen. 140 X 120 | 55 X 47 in. Modelling courtesy of London model Emily Poynton. Letter courtesy of Flemming Noergaard Pedersen of Denmark. More information from Waterhouse & Dodd, New York. SOUS LE CERVEAU is a good example of Edward Povey’s recent paintings. It is an allegory of our experience of life, but not of a single memory or aspect so much as a combining of birth, death, love, longing, sex, regret, vulnerability, and sweetness, all occurring simultaneously. He has used an actual head X-Ray, a crumpled black and white plate of a Balthus erotic painting, and an authentic heartfelt letter between two Danish brothers. The spoons are an echo of words by TS Eliot about ‘life…being measured out in coffee spoons…’, and the letter flows under the bridge of their handles. Edward Povey’s paintings are a paradox: he uses the honest flat perspective of pre-Renaissance religious paintings, mixing his perspectives at will, and reproducing all the surfaces of the ordinary objects that carry an emotional charge in our lives. The palette of the flesh, extended into the whole painting is borrowed from Raphael (1483 – 1520) so as to import the starved and penitent look of the figures in his altarpieces. This is then deeply glazed to meet his own contemporary need to build a troubled translucency into the figure. The painting is aptly titled in French as SOUS LE CERVEAU (under the brain, or beneath conscious awareness).
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  1. Such an interesting and revealing interview both on the part of the presenter and Edward, l look at the paintings in a different light now that further enriches the experience and some of the reasoning behind their creation, many thanks.

  2. i’ve been addicted to ed’s way of describing his work and his meticulous approach (even to those things that might seem random) since the first time we met in the early 70s. it is hard to imagine an artist more dedicated to the principle of growing his skill set through research, sheer hard work and deep digging. so, of course, his models cannot expect to escape this gruelling catharsis. in a world of slipshod ephemera, he is a lasting monument to dedication.

  3. Edward is a very complex man . It would take at least 25 interviews to even scratch the surface of who he is & what’s he embodies a generous soul He is as Human as one could hope to be

  4. Edward is a very complex man . It would take at least 25 interviews to even scratch the surface of who he is & what’s he embodies a generous soul He is as Human as one could hope to be


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