Contemporary art wonder Albert Irvin has a new exhibition, writes Colin Gleadell.
Albert Irvin is one of the wonders of the London contemporary art world, whose new exhibition at Gimpel Fils in Davies Street, beside Claridges, every Olympic visitor should visit. The show celebrates the 90th birthday of a man whom I spotted recently running 50 yards full pelt for a bus – and whose art, not to mention the distinctive colour-coordinated clothes he wears, is as vigorous and youthful as any half his age.
Irvin is, as the curator Paul Moorhouse says in the catalogue, an artist who identifies abstract art with existence.
“For over 50 years, his work has been predicated on the conviction that non-descriptive colours, shapes, brush marks and intimated space can directly express a sense of life in its most essential form.”
Irvin has titled the exhibition Fidelio not just as a reference to his faith in abstraction, but also as a musical evocation, echoing his love for and great knowledge of the classics.
Synthesising the proximity of music to painting, Irvin comments: “Music brought me to the realisation that it was possible to say what it feels like to be a human being without having to paint noses and feet.”
Irvin’s work can be found in museum collections in Britain, Ireland and Australia, as well notable private collections, including that of the artist Damien Hirst. Prices are a snip, from £7,000 to £20,000.