online at Hastings Contemporary -

Thursday, May 7, 2020 to Sunday, September 27, 2020

'We Live in Worrying Times', on display 'virtually' on Hastings Contemporary's website, shows a new body of work themed around concern for the state of the world. The exhibition was due to open at Hastings Contemporary before Easter 2020 and was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many themes from the show have a marked resonance with the present global situation.

Quentin explores subject matter and techniques that feel both familiar and radically different, somewhere between the dream-like and profoundly introspective. Displaced figures rove across empty landscapes blasted by war, or ecological crisis; sinister planes and drones haunt the skies above; and dense crowds of closely-cropped portraits, a host of assorted refugees, travellers, orphans, ‘unfortunates’, and some grotesques he has called ‘eroded heads’.  Using watercolours, acrylics, pencil and oil pastel, his work spans a variety of moods and scale.

At the centre of the exhibition is The Taxi Driver, a thirty-by-five foot mural, which he completed in a single day at Hastings Contemporary, that pays homage to Picasso’s Guernica, transposing its anti-war sentiment to the present day. Blake was inspired to create the work after a strange encounter with a taxi driver in London some years ago, who – lamenting that ‘we live in worrying times’ – encouraged him to take up the mantle of artist-hero and produce a new Guernica for the world, an outcry against the encroaching global disasters of the near future. 

The Gallery's pioneering use of a telepresence robot - known as the Robot Double - also allows virtual visitors to experience a tour of the gallery, and to see The Taxi Driver in full detail.  The other 170 works in the show are currently only displayed online.


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