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Traces of T.E Lawrence

07-12-2010 09:04 AM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Red Gate Gallery

UK debut exhibition of works by renowned desert painter Carsten Westphal, tracing the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia through the Jordan Desert

Private View: Friday 27th of August 2010 – 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm
Exhibition runs from: Friday 27th of August – Monday 30th of August 2010
Gallery Opening Hours: Fri: 11.00 am to 6.30 pm
Sat/Sun: 12.30pm - 5.00 pm
Last day of Exhibition: 30th of August: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm

The rough and fine structures of the dried-out, torn soil, the burst coarse gravel, the sand dunes that the winds have formed, all this draws the artist Carsten Westphal to the deserts. Westphal travels to these landscapes by jeep, on camels or on foot in order to find the perfect location for painting: In the Sahara desert, the Indian desert Thar, on Mount Sinai in the Sinai desert, in the Arabian desert of Syria or on the desert islands Boavista and Sal in the Atlantic, the dried-out salt lakes, the coarse rock-strewn landscape of extinct volcanoes and in dried up, dusty rivers. He mixes the materials, which he finds there, the salt, the sand, the soil and the dust pigments, with colour pigments and bonding agents and applies them onto the canvas using trowels and brushes. Thus, he creates telluric landscapes, mirror images of the elementary powers, which created these landscapes, structure paintings, which can only develop like this in the deserts. (Extract from C.Cühl article on Carsten Westphal, desert painter)

In the same vain Westphal embarked on a new series that lead him to the desert sands of Jordan where he traced the footsteps of enigmatic historical figure T.E Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. Westphal, yet again travelled on foot, by camel or by Jeep from Amman to Aqaba right into the heart of Wadi Rum, where he created several large format pictures. He than trekked on through the desert's ever changing and rough terrains until reaching Azraq Oasis, where T.E Lawrence spent the winter in 1917/18 shortly before Lawrence conquered Damascus with support of the Arabian tribesmen.
Continuing to discover T.E Lawrence's itineraries, Westphal pushed on towards Qasr el Asraq or the 'Blue Fortress', a place steeped in history that was first used by the Romans as a strategic military point, later it was restored by the Memelukes in the 13th century. Here more desert pictures were painted. His last stop was in the mystical city of Petra, established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans.
Though T.E Lawrence was Westphals initial inspiration for this amazing journey, yet what calls this unusual artist time and time again is the breathtaking and menacing beauty of the desert. Like travelling into the lion's mouth, no matter which desert Carsten Westphal will voyage deep into its heart and immortalise it within his stunning pieces. The T.E Lawrence series will be for the first time on show at Red Gate Gallery from August 27th to August 30th 2010.

Westphal himself says, "The desert is menacing and still it is the basis for all being. It leads me back to the elementary things in life. The desert sharpens my senses and makes me aware of the limits of the human body. There is no landscape in our world, for which I feel more desire and passion, which at the same time challenges me more than the desert. It is the vastness, the enormous quiet, the absence of diversions, which create the perfect conditions for the concentration on the essential."…

Red Gate Gallery is a non-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to the continuous exposure of contemporary and diverse Art forms. It encompasses artists’ studios, a large gallery space suitable for installations, film projections, music performances, live gigs and exhibitions. Red Gate is located within a busy environment between Brixton & Camberwell. The gallery hosts regular events, exploring strands of thought provoking art. Since 1998 it has hosted over 500 events and exhibitions.

209a Coldharbour Lane

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