Peter Clossick LG reflects on his motivations and experience of being a London Group member and ideas for the Group’s future focus.
Matthew Kolakowski, the President (1998 – 2000), was the LG member who suggested I apply for membership in 1999. Something I had never thought of up to then as at the time I did not consider myself as part of a group but as an individual artist. In fact, I felt myself to be very much an outsider having pursued a more traditional, some would say conservative role in my art practice but also having previously dabbled in abstraction and conceptual working, even producing an early video! But on an investigation, I realised the LG did not have a house style but consisted of a wide range of individual artists, many with solid reputations, its past history encompassed most major English artists of the 20th century. So I leapt at the opportunity.
Art is a personal endeavour, often a very intimate process for its creator. Dedicated artists invest their thoughts and abilities into what they do, as well as a fair amount of faith and hope in an imagined outcome. This uncertainty and the revealing of our inner worlds make us vulnerable to criticism that will often feel personal, regardless of its intent. Yet the irony is that artistic growth is greatly hindered without criticism or critique. After all, we are social creatures, and most art is made with the intention of sharing with others. Thus any experienced artist comes to know that the skills of critiquing and being critiqued, as well as the knowledge behind these actions, are perhaps of equal importance as the act of creating.
So the opportunity to display my work amongst these other artists whose opinions I valued was not to be missed. The challenge, of seeing one’s attempts amongst others of high quality and the subsequent (sometimes alcohol-driven) conversations helped to place my own work in a general context. The odd word, hint, comment or discussion, possibly about the general art world and its shortcomings – even talking philosophy, has been the best value for me by being part of a group. To have the knowledge that you are not alone, but are amongst like-minded people, even though you might vehemently disagree with the other person’s aesthetic.
This conversation between people needs to be encouraged, created, and pursued, for the benefit of all members and those also outside, who are interested in the LG and its activities. Some artists can get very precious about their practice, but the general feeling of empathy each has for each other, within the group, should overcome this hesitancy. Not to join in point scoring but to enable another to achieve the highest level within their own practice. This is where I see the future of the group, more significant internal reaction to each other’s work with honesty and consideration. To develop the potential to kick ideas around as just ideas and come away feeling strengthened in your own resolve and practice, may the LG long continue?”
- Winter Exhibition, Anna Lovely Gallery, 140 Sydenham Road, London, SE26 5JZ. 10th Dec – 15th Jan
- Peter Clossick The Act of Painting (solo exhibition) Whitebox Gallery, London. Overlooking the Hare and Billet pond in Blackheath, the solo will be invigilated by the artist. 5 Hare and Billet Road, Blackheath, SE3 0RB (weekends only). 7 – 23rd Jan ’23
- NEAC (group exhibition) Victoria Art Gallery, Bath. 21st Jan. – 11th April ’23 (exhibition open to the public)
- Assemble:23 (group exhibition) Tregony Gallery, Cornwall/London. 1st – 14th Feb. ’23