Made in Europe – Jennifer Durrant RA & David Evison

Made in Europe

2 – 30 September 2018

Paintings by Jennifer Durrant RA from Italy and sculpture by David Evison from Germany.

Jenny makes her art in a studio overlooking Lake Trasimeno, Italy.  David makes his near Alexander Platz in Berlin Mitte.  They both maintain residences on the south coast ; hers at Brighton and his at St. Leonards-on-Sea.

They graduated in the same year, she from the Slade and he from St. Martins, and although David saw her graduation show and has positive recollections of it, she did not see his work until 1971 when she took a studio space at Stockwell Depot in S. London.  Apart from the sculptors, only Richard James and John McLean had studios there.  It was a rough and tough environment and she became familiar with the then fashionable London sculpture scene also getting to know abstract painters associated with that scene.

These contacts lead her to join David, John McLean and Alan Gouk on a charter flight to New York in 1975.  David had already met the famous critic, Clement Greenberg, when he made a visit to Stockwell Depot in 1970 so all were invited for drinks in his Central Park West apartment.  He arranged visits to Manhattan modernist painters and for Jenny and David to the recently deceased David Smith’s studio, whose  property was way upstate.  Jenny was able to leaf through reams of drawings whilst David trudged through the snow taking in the sculptures placed in the meadows of his isolated farmhouse.  Both left there feeling the thrill of discovery and aesthetic euphoria.

Greenberg made another visit to Stockwell Depot in 1978 where he singled out Jenny’s work for special praise as he had done for David’s before, and his words spread wide, leading to David’s first one man show at Kasmin Gallery and Jenny’s career to take off in UK and USA.

She left Stockwell for an adventure at Somerville College Oxford, 1979-80 as artist in residence, he to Australia for a shorter voyage of discovery which he rejected.  Both returned to London, she to the rough but now fashionable Peckham, and he to the Art Academy in Berlin. They went their separate ways only renewing contact in 2015 at the University of Greenwich Gallery exhibition ‘Stockwell Depot 1967-79’.

Those early days of shared experience have provided a guideline for their subsequent development as artists. They have not followed fashionable trends and remain true to their feelings and the need to use the example that the best art of our times have to offer.