With Spain in Mind

Anthony Whishaw LG exhibition at the RA re-opens on August 5th.

The Tennant Gallery, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

5—16 Aug 2020

This free display explores the powerful influence Spain has had on the work of Anthony Whishaw RA, from his first visit in 1951 through to the present day.

Consciously and unconsciously, Anthony Whishaw’s paintings, sketches and works on paper trace the impact and memory of the Spanish landscape and culture as well as his fascination with Spanish artists such as Velázquez, Goya and Picasso.Paintings in the show include the dramatic Bullfight with Falling Picador (1951) an early response to this savage ritual, abstracted landscapes which draw on Whishaw’s journeys across Spain through the high mountains of the sierras with their hill top towns, and intricate fractured interiors and figures inspired by Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656).

The huge panoramic abstract canvas Matadero Municipal (1983-96) uses deep reds and orange to conjure an abattoir’s interior with motifs of a bull’s skull and brand markings. In contrast Whishaw’s very small paintings of the Reverie series recall an encounter with a solitary old woman who was the last person living in a crumbling, deserted Spanish village. The intensity of Whishaw’s experience of Spain has woven its way through his career for nearly 70 years.