Alec Cumming | The Other Art Fair LA | 15th - 18th March 2018 |The Majestic Downtown
It’s a good week for the young UK based artist Alec Cumming. As he un-packs his paintings, received back from his show in Delhi, he contemplates what work he will be taking to Los Angeles, to exhibit at the first edition of The Other Art Fair in the iconic Majestic Downtown in LA. Sponsored by Saatchi Art, The Other Art Fair is Cumming’s first foray into the LA art scene. With collectors in New York and on the East Coast, Alec is looking forward to meeting those in LA eager to seek out new talent. His label as an ‘emerging artist’ seems particularly apt as he has just been shortlisted for the 2018 John Moores Painting Prize; one of the UK’s most prestigious arts awards.
Alec Cumming’s paintings are often described as abstract, although in the strictest sense this is not true. His images play around with abstracted forms of things seen and places experienced, in a youthful and energised way. If asked what sort of artist he is Alec would probably describe himself as a painter and this reference would lead us to his often large-scale oil-on-canvas works, the most recent of which are a series of four-meter long narrative paintings. However, just as important and evocative are his works on paper which can be tiny sketches or large format, often vibrant, depictions. On paper he plays around with medium, watercolour, oil, gouache and more recently the series he is taking to LA alongside his oil on canvas paintings, his posca pen on paper works, the ink Cumming explains, gives a more defined and lively edge.
Those who have seen Cumming’s work evolve over the years have also witnessed his ability to see, experience and deftly translate onto canvas and paper his changing surroundings. His early works reflect colours of his heroes such as Roger Hilton and William Scott and the UK landscapes that surrounded him. In 2010 Alec was invited by Gallery Art 18|21 to exhibit at the India Art Fair in Delhi. India, its colours and the craziness of one of the worlds most vibrant metropolis, captured the young artist’s imagination. He found himself a large studio in one of Delhi’s artist districts and over the next six years worked between studios happily devouring all the visuals on offer. During this time Cumming enjoyed a number of important exhibitions in his early painting career including a solo show with the British Council in Delhi, following in the footsteps of another of his heroes Howard Hodgkin.
With a new audience about to be offered Cumming’s paintings, it is sometimes difficult for the artist to know what to select. He laughs as his observes the choices in front of him. He explains that working as a painter can often be a solitary pursuit, as often he may not leave his studio for days in the process of completing what may become an important work. I have to amuse myself and often paint things that make me smile, possible something I have seen or a situation I find funny. He concludes that he will take to LA those works that most engage and enthuse him and hope the LA audience enjoys them too.
Alec Cumming | Playful Sighting | 168 x 198cm | oil on canvas | 2017