Ralph Fleck & Claire Kerr

5 September - 3 October 2020

Purdy Hicks is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Ralph Fleck, and new paintings and drawings by Claire Kerr 


Ralph Fleck (born1951, Freiburg, Germany) lives and works in Freiburg and Soller. Formerly Professor of Painting at the Nuremberg Academy his work is represented in many public collections including the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlung Munich; Kunsthaus Zürich; Sprengel Museum Hannover; Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg. In 2015 a major retrospective of his work was held at the Museum Küppersmühle Duisburg.


As a student Ralph Fleck had a teacher who insisted that nothing was unworthy of being painted. It is a credo he has stuck with, creating his own painterly language which involves movement between moments of close observation and of objective distance.


Every inch of a painting’s surface is important to him and each is painted with the same absorption and intensity. It is vital that the brush marks are both raw and immediate. When he paints book stacks, or a city, it is the idea of books or a city; something of their essence, rather than their particular­ity, that is captured in paint.  However intuitive a painting may appear, its journey is rarely haphazard, but part of a process of looking and a continuing dialogue with the material of paint.


Claire Kerr (born 1968, Wallsend, UK) lives and works in Dublin. She studied at Magdalen College Oxford, Wimbledon School of Art, London and Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin. 


Her paintings, apparently seamless and resolved, in fact feel their tentative way - looking for that enigmatic space where an idea interacts with the tangible and real. Modest in scale, they invite intimacy with a viewer but leave open the question of meaning and interpretation. They are meditative and still – a pause in the everyday – but at the same time playful and good-humoured. Concerned with the fundamental properties of a painted image – surface, depth, context – they also celebrate the idiosyncratic or peculiar, trains of thought at a tangent, an unobtrusive weirdness. They give the impression of precision and fact but make ample use of the fictional and speculative. Along the way towards the emblematic, abstract, or ideal, they embrace the unattainable and the unresolvable, aware that objects and ideas in the cold light of day are subject to the inconvenient details of their existence and to entropy. They often use as their starting point art-historical sources, both distant and recent, to achieve a kind of resonance, merging a sense of the past with a celebration of the contemporary.


'Regardless of their beautify, wit and intelligence - Claire Kerr's paintings inflict a sort of apocalyptic melancholy. They are, ultimately, an elegy'. (Hisham Matar)