Billy Childish is exhibiting 17 new works at Hoxton Arches, Arch 402 Cremer Street, London. The show runs until the 21st October.
The title of the show is "Frozen Estuary and Other Paintings of the Divine Ordinary, Part II". The exhibition will be open to the public every day from 11 AM – 7PM. I think it's the best collection of Billy's work that's been shown so far. Here are some photos from the p.v and the press release...
“I was born in Chatham, by the River Medway. Up until I was 9 we went on family holidays, several times a year, to Seasalter: a stretch of shingle on the North Kent Coast/Thames Estuary, lined with weatherboard shacks. As a toddler I would be taken crabbing on the flats by some older girls, then in 1963 the sea froze and the crabs were all but wiped out. That stuck in my mind. There were other stories the grown ups spoke of: a lady drowned after getting lost in the fog whilst out cockling; a great wave that washed away the shacks in the floods of the 1950s. Later, as a teenager, I was an apprentice stonemason in the Naval Dockyard at Chatham. Here the old lags told me about the big freeze in 1947 when some of the fellows walked to work over the river.
The stories I heard as a youngster have remained the most potent with me: they are what grips the imagination; when you're a kid you know less of the boundaries of the world - have never read a map - and you’re listing to men and women who are from another age (many of them brought up by Victorians), then the truth becomes very fluid.
The Frozen Estuary paintings started from an old photo I found of ice-bound ships on the Medway during a big freeze in 1890's. This lead me to look for other references and I happened across a group of photos belonging to a family who farmed oysters on the Essex side of the estuary, many showing the big freeze of 1947. Like most kids I loved it when the world was stopped by snow; when great buses were trapped and school was abandoned. To see ships held in ice - the sea itself frozen – that’s something every imagination is drawn to and can wonder at.”
Billy Childish, May 2012
Billy Childish was born in Chatham, Kent in 1959. After leaving secondary school at sixteen—and being denied an interview to the local art school—he was employed at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham as an apprentice stonemason. During this short period of employment he produced about six hundred drawings, which gained him entry to London’s St. Martin's School of Art.
Childish's defiance of the formalities of art education eventually led to his expulsion in 1981. He then embarked on an artistic, literary, and musical odyssey exploring a broad range of worldly themes including the sexual abuse he experienced as a child, and alcoholism. Made over 35 years of continual creative activity, this extensive body of work has included the publication of five novels; more than forty volumes of confessional poetry; the production of over one hundred albums, and many cycles of oil paintings, woodcuts, and graphic works, which have earned Childish a legendary reputation worldwide.
His work has been the subject of important solo and group exhibitions in New York, London, Seoul, and Berlin, including major concurrent solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London and White Columns, New York in 2010. He also participated in the British Art Show 5, which toured throughout four cities in the UK: Edinburgh, Southampton, Cardiff, and Birmingham.