London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

John Virtue at Marlborough Fine Art

02/02/2008, By

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Marlborough Fine Art is holding its first exhibition of work by internationally renowned artist John Virtue. It is his first exhibition in London since his highly acclaimed show at the National Gallery in 2005. In 2006 Marlborough invited John Virtue to participate in an annual Artists International Print Project, run by Paupers Press, at the Scuola de Grafica in Venice.

The scheme, now in its sixth year, provides artists with the opportunity to spend three weeks in Venice making prints. However, the medium is strictly confined to monotypes, a very direct medium which John Virtue had not tried before and which he viewed with some trepidation. In order to familiarise himself with the technique Virtue began making monotypes, at Paupers Press studio, in London. Using drawings for reference he found he could work in a way that closely related to his painting techniques. In essence, the monotypes are a continuation of his work as a painter and are effectively paintings on paper.

One day every week, between October 2006 and March 2007, Virtue worked translating the Thames into 129 monotypes of enormously diverse size. In August, he travelled to Venice and there steeped himself in his second subject - Venice. By the end of August Virtue had completed over three hundred `Venetian' monotypes. This exhibition will include approximately forty-five of these beautiful London - Venice landscapes taken from this astonishing creative feat.

Shortly after the completion of the project Virtue moved to Italy and as Paul Moorhouse writes in the catalogue essay he vacated the city that had provided his subject for the previous five years to continue his work in a new location. In telling ways, the London and Venice monotypes stand as this important juncture in Virtue's art. They draw together themes that have governed the progress of his work for almost thirty years, and they point the way to its future development.

John Virtue was born in Lancashire in 1947. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1965-69). He has shown extensively in the U.K. and abroad and is represented in private and public collections and institutions.

5th to 29th March
Marlborough Fine Art
6 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4BY
+44 (0)20 7629 5161
Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5.30 pm
Saturday: 10 am to 12.30 pm
Admission free

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