Bob Dylan on Canvas: exclusive show of his very first works on canvas

1 Feb 2010

“This suite of new acrylic on canvas paintings by Bob Dylan is, on first sight, startlingly fluent, original and imaginative, but it is soon clear that they are also subtle and with deep meaning.” Professor Maurice Cockrill RA

Halcyon Gallery at 24 Bruton Street, Mayfair is showing Bob Dylan on Canvas: an exclusive exhibition of Bob Dylan’s first paintings on canvas. This unique body of work witnesses the culmination of his artistic progression in The Drawn Blank Series: from drawings to works on paper and now finally to canvas. The Bob Dylan on Canvas exhibition signifies an end to this chapter in his artistic career as he moves forward from The Drawn Blank Series and onto the next phase.

Based on drawings and sketches made while on the road during the period of 1989 - 1992, the paintings in Bob Dylan on Canvas visually echo the stylistic hallmarks of Dylan’s prose, poetry and music.  Just as Dylan’s songs are constantly reinvigorated and rediscovered through his live performances, so these paintings revisit images and scenes which were captured in all their immediacy by the artist.

Bob Dylan said of his paintings: “I just draw what’s interesting to me, and then I paint it.  Rows of houses, orchard acres, lines of tree trunks, could be anything. I can take a bowl of fruit and turn it into a life and death drama. Women are power figures, so I depict them that way.  I can find people to paint in mobile home communities. I could paint bourgeois people too.

I’m not trying to make social comment or fulfil somebody’s vision and I can find subject matter anywhere. I guess in some way that comes out of the folk world that I came up in.”

In these latest works the painterly quality enhances the atmosphere of the subject matter, as Professor Maurice Cockrill RA writes: “The larger canvases of these later paintings are images which stand as single statements offering multiple interpretations. Each has a brilliance and translucency of colour that contributes greatly to the emotional charge of the subject, in much the same way vigorous brushwork brings a particular velocity to the drawing and construction of the compositions.”

Bob Dylan on Canvas is the last UK exhibition of this body of work and foreshadows his upcoming exhibition at the prestigious Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen in which he will unveil new works along with selected pieces from The Drawn Blank Series, curated by Dr. Kasper Monrad.

Paul Green, President of the Halcyon Gallery, commented: “These paintings are the culmination of everything Dylan has done with The Drawn Blank Series so far, signalling a new phase in the artist's career. The evolution of medium, from paper to canvas, has been an important development resulting in a creative explosion which has given greater meaning to the paintings. Bob Dylan on Canvas is the grand finale of the Drawn Blank years and the precursor of the new 'Brazil' series in which Dylan explores the canvas further.”