Charlie Roberts and Robert McNally at David Risley

Artists: Charlie Roberts and Robert McNally

Exhibition title: Windows / Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave

Venue: David Risley, Copenhagen, Denmark

Date: August 18 – September 30, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts: Windows

For his new exhibition, Windows, Charlie Roberts has made a series of 13 paintings which are all the same size and format and on the same subject; his most cohesive series of paintings to date.

The paintings are of windows, each one leading to the next, giving a kind of movement through a city, from life to life. A window in the background or a reflection in a mirror in one painting becomes the main subject of the next painting in the series. The paintings are focused on women, the only man seen in the 13 paintings is putting all his attention on pleasing a woman. This is a city of women which we only catch in glimpses through windows and reflections. The viewer is voyeuristic, moving through the city like a camera or a bird. Always on the outside looking in. Even when the subject fills the canvas all we see is a reflection in her sunglasses, while we presume she has a clear sight of the viewer.

Robert McNally: Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave

‘… Oh, the jealous and anxious passion I had for solitude, O solitude of my young days! You were my refuge, my panacea, the citadel of my youthful pride. With what might and main did I cling to you – and how afraid I was even then of losing you!’ (Colette)

In 2010 we invited Robert McNally to take part in a residency at Krogerup Højskole, in the countryside near Copenhagen. His motivation was to have a forced period of introspection. ‘I was in a bad way after a difficult time living like a vagabond, and without a dedicated space to work in for a more than half a year.’

He stayed alone in a large house, surrounded by snow on the edge of the woods for 6 weeks. He walked from there to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art everyday.

‘The warmth and calm order of Louisiana was in stark contrast to the disorganisation I had been living in. Contents and artworks aside, the place gave me a peace that I had missed. The uniqueness of the geographical isolation and the intimacy at its heart complimented what I needed; which was to feel alone in order to think clearly, but to feel surrounded and have comfort at the same time. I often visited multiple times during the course of a day, morning, afternoon, and in the evening, I returned almost every day of my residency, and got to know every corner.’

He also spent time outside, drawing the woods and the coastal views which were reminiscent of Northumbria close to his hometown of Newcastle. The works produced over the course of that week developed over the coming years into this body of drawings.

McNally considered this series of drawings to be quick notes, sketches that were not works in their own right. They became intermingled into piles of other drawings and through a series of house and studio moves were eventually forgotten about. He found a stack in a box in his Berlin studio, others were found in his parents’ garage. Some of them had moulded and the paper disintegrated. He reworked some and remade others from scratch.

I was amazed when I saw these works and dumbfounded they had almost been forgotten and lost. Seeing them together now for the first time they give a strong impression of his time at Krogerup. The period of forced solitude led to close, detailed looking and fantastical imaginings. New visions of familiar objects and places that come from a sustained scrutiny. Pre-Colombian objects from the Wessel Bagge collection, the Giacometti room, the sculpture gardens and stretch of coast in front of Louisiana Museum become fictional places for McNally to inhabit in his solitude.

-David Risley

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Windows, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Charlie Roberts, Lorimer Campari, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, New England Dance Party, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Sticker Window, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Victoria, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Spaghetti Night, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Water, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Chapel, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Glass Tower, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Beth, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Sky Light, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Lilac, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Fruit Bowl, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Charlie Roberts, Daisy, 2017, Oil on canvas, 120h x 100w cm (47.24h x 39.37w in)

Robert McNally, Palmyra’s Syndrome by Proxy, 2017, Acrylic paint, water colour, graphite, black enamel on 1200 grm handmade paper

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Drawings from the Hermit’s Cave, 2017, exhibition view, David Risley, Copenhagen

Robert McNally, Untitled, 2010-2017, Clay, wire, graphite powder, metal paint

Robert McNally, The husband was a hardworking man, about a mile from here, 2017, Graphite on paper, 33 x 24 cm (12.99 x 9.45 in)

Robert McNally, I’m going where the cold wind blows, 2017, Graphite on paper, 24 x 33 cm (9.45 x 12.99 in)

Robert McNally, Wallet inspection, 2010-2013, Graphite on paper, 33 x 24 cm (12.99 x 9.45 in)

Robert McNally, My room, Krogerup folk school 2010, 2010-2013, Graphite on paper, 30 x 42 cm (11.81 x 16.54 in)

Robert McNally, Tattoo, 2010- 2017, Graphite on paper, 33 x 48 cm (12.99 x 18.9 in)

Robert McNally, Substratumb, 2010-2017, Graphite on paper, 48 x 33 cm (18.9 x 12.99 in)

Robert McNally, Glade, Danish woods, 2010-2013, Graphite on paper, 33 x 48 cm (12.99 x 18.9 in)

Robert McNally, Sculpture Garden 2 (Calder), 2010-2013, Graphite on paper, 33 x 48 cm (12.99 x 18.9 in)

Robert McNally, Chapstick Protection, 2010-2017, Graphite on paper, 48 x 33 cm (18.9 x 12.99 in)

Robert McNally, Audioguide available from front desk, 2010-2013, Graphite on paper, 48 x 33 cm (18.9 x 12.99 in)

Robert McNally, Climbing for Dollars, 2010-2017, Graphite on paper, 48 x 33 cm (18.9 x 12.99 in)

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