‘What Kibel has done is create a template; a formula in which he has found space to experiment on a number of different levels. The first would be emotion; here we find portraits of fear, love, anger and melancholy'....'We are assailed by jealous greens, venomous crimsons, beatific indigos and flesh-hued pinks....we are witness to the states of the soul and unavoidably, the abyss. We roam from the manic to the melancholic.' - Ashley Crawford 2009, writing about Kibel ‘Picasso Auto-Portraits' show in 2009.
JEREMY KIBEL first used the self-portraits of Picasso as the basis for an exhibition in 2009. Entitled ‘Picasso Auto-Portraits' the works were shown to considerable acclaim at Block Projects in Melbourne and Rex Irwin Art Dealer in Sydney 2010.
For his latest exhibition, Jeremy Kibel has decided to re-visit the subject matter with ten major canvases for his first solo show at Annandale Galleries. The gallery last held a major exhibition of Picasso in November/December 2011, which coincided with the major survey of the artist held at the Art Gallery of NSW. The Annandale exhibition of drawings, etchings, and ceramics from 1901 - 1972 was a critical and commercial success. Having shown the modern master, the gallery was intrigued by the possibility of showing a contemporary artist's vision of the importance and influence of Picasso.
I think it is safe to say that in terms of painting at least, it is virtually impossible to not be influenced in some way by the great twentieth century master. Picasso's ubiquitous influence is everywhere, and is literally part of the ‘air' that is breathed by painters with any sense of the art-historical continuum.
In order to be fully present, it is paramount for a painter to understand what has come before. Some artists are more aware of this fact than others. Jeremy Kibel is an artist of his time with his finger on the pulse of what is new and substantive not only in Australian art but also overseas. His large works on paper in the 2011 Annandale show ‘Manifold', curated by Giles Ryder, recalled the Paris ‘affichistes' like Raymond Hains and Mimmo Rotella as well as another French artist who has shown at Annandale - Christian Bonnefoi. Kibel has the ability to become truly intimate with the past in a manner that brings contemporary meaning to the backward glance.
The challenge of tackling Picasso is one not to be taken lightly. So many people have fixed ideas about the master and the intent of the artist may easily be misunderstood. To exhibit a body of work like Picasso Re-Vision is a courageous act. I am reminded of William Kentridge deciding to direct a very different version of the opera ‘The Magic Flute' back in 2005. One needs to be courageous, somewhat irreverent, perhaps even a touch iconoclastic as well as have something significant to say to use Titans like Mozart or Picasso as the basis for new work.
Jeremy Kibel has produced a body of work that is a clear homage to the modern master by the use of appropriation. However, the works are not post-modern trickery or mere clever ideas. They are not overloaded with irony. It is not clear but to some extent they are certainly self-portraits of the artist himself. It is up to the viewer to decide. However, they are powerful, substantive and gutsy paintings that play to both the mind and the body. They evoke Picasso - but on a grand scale. Visceral and intellectual depending on one's mood and point of view - there will be plenty to take away from this exhibition.
- Bill Gregory, Sydney 2012
JEREMY KIBEL (born 1972, lives and works Melbourne) has had seventeen solo and numerous group exhibitions since 2000. His work hangs in public and private collections throughout Australia.
In November/December 2011 Annandale Galleries held an exhibition of over forty drawings, etching and ceramics by Pablo Picasso to coincide with the museum show at the Art Gallery NSW. The show was critically acclaimed, popular with the public and a commercial success. A hard cover sixty page catalogue was produced for the show.
As a follow-up to this exhibition, Annandale Galleries have chosen a dozen special etchings for a small exhibition. The prints by Picasso range from La Source 1921, a Suite Vollard etching 1933, several from the Carmen series 1949 on beautiful Japan paper and a number of later works from the 156 and 347 series. Some of these etchings are rare before steel facing (BSF) of the plates. These etchings were printed before the plate was reinforced and have beautiful contrast and detail. There will also be some historically important limited edition original posters on view.
It is hoped that when viewed with the works appropriated from Picasso by Jeremy Kibel in the main gallery upstairs that Kibel's artistic vision and use of Picasso become clearer and even more evocative. It is as an opportunity to understand both Jeremy Kibel and perhaps Picasso in new and unexpected ways.