Greg Rook : Honyocker in Milan at Spazio V&A Fabbrica del Vapore

Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths College graduate Greg Rook (b.1971, London) explores the rich visual history, curious cultural politics and often complex ideologies of those who seek to start a new life or wish to lead alternative lifestyles.

From pioneers travelling to new continents to those wanting to stay put and live self-sufficiently, Rook invites the viewer to join him on his own aesthetic and critical journey through a world of colonies, communities, communes and cults.

The ne'er-do-wells

By means of figurative painting that pushes the boundaries between realism and lyricism, Rook captures something profoundly revealing in terms of the hopes, dreams and successes as well as the disappointments, disillusionment and disasters that radical departures from home life and mainstream society can entail.

For some, utopias can turn to dystopias, the Romantic imaginary can turn to tragedy, the sublime can turn to misery. For those fleeing oppression, however, it can be completely the opposite – newfound freedom, affluence and happiness. Rook’s oeuvre, which incorporates cowboys and communists, agrarians and anarchists, believers and book-burners, depicts how the relationship between people and land is regularly fraught with issues, especially when migration and a clash of mindsets or ways of life is involved. What are brave new worlds for some are threatened old worlds for others.

Tents

Where the wind blows

To coincide with this substantial mid-career survey, a monograph devoted to the work of Greg Rook, has been co-published by Vento & Associati and Anomie. Featuring approximately fifty illustrations of paintings and works on paper made by Rook since 2006, along with an introduction by London and Milan-based critic and curator Michele Robecchi and a significant newly commissioned essay by Matt Price, a leading voice in the field of contemporary British painting, the publication offers an engaging and pertinent commentary on Rook’s long-standing painterly investigation into how people choose to live their lives.

The Cornfield

Greg Rook : Honyocker from 4th of April to 5th of May 2019 Spazio V&A Fabbrica del Vapore Via Procaccini, 4 Milano Inauguration: Wednesday 3 April 6.30pm

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