Grove Square Galleries is delighted to announce Lubberland, a forthcoming solo exhibition of new and recent works by Harry Rüdham. Comprising 16 paintings and two innovative paper works, Lubberland will run February 17 – April 2, 2022.

Lubberland takes the Swedish name for ‘Cockaigne,’ a land of plenty in medieval myth, and was first made famous in the broadside ballad "An Invitation to Lubberland," first printed in 1685. With ‘Lazy Land’ an approximate translation, the exhibition’s title sets out its themes – presenting a bold yearning for an idyllic world of ease, abundance and human connection.

Harry Rüdham original artwork strawberry jam
Harry Rüdham, Strawberry Jam

Taking combined inspiration from such masterpieces as Bruegel’s The Land of Cockaigne, Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights and Matisse’s Bonheur de Vivre, Rüdham’s paintings are crowded with intersecting figures, stylized as floating or falling silhouettes repeated across each brightly textured scene. As in Dante’s Divine Comedy, in Lubberland Rüdham offers a sense of joyful optimism but also foreboding – set amid the context of a soul’s journey down to Hell and back to Heaven. Paintings such as Lemon Curd and Strawberry Jam are luscious and thronging, bursting with figures that flow like the wine in those medieval streams of fantasy.

Alongside Old Masters, Rüdham has long been inspired by the color studies of the Bauhaus artists, concerned with the interactions of color. In these new works, however, he has become increasingly focused on ideas of patterning, with key influences including Anni and Josef Albers. Maintaining his signature bold palette, these paintings shift towards a more maximalist style, appearing simplistic but with a focused perspective intensified through spherical or oval compositions – becoming portals within abstracted worlds.

Harry Rüdham original artwork blue and green
Harry Rüdham Sprinkled Through the Foliage I
Harry Rudam original artwork Sprinkles
Harry Rüdham, Sprinkles

Meticulous and painstaking, Rüdham’s complex paintings are composed of many strata – layer upon layer of reverse cut outs. By hand-cutting each figure individually using tape, thousands of figures are created, intersecting and overlapping one another through a lengthy, intricate process. From afar, the figures are barely distinguishable, seeming like an abstract design, forcing perspective into the centre of the composition. Close up, each form reveals itself, emerging as though embossed upon the surface.

Lubberland also sees the artist present two works from his new ‘Cotton Candy’ series. A departure from Rüdham’s central painting practice, these skyscapes take inspiration from Hockney’s paper experiments and are created through a process of blending paper, dying the cotton with pure pigment and pressing the strands back together. Soft and dreamlike, the skies take on a tactile aesthetic, celebrating the materiality of the medium.

Harry Rudham fall original artwork
Harry Rüdham, Fall
Harry Rüdham sapphire original artwork
Harry Rüdham, Sapphire
Harry Rüdham original artwork studland
Harry Rüdham, Studland

About Harry Rüdham

London-based artist Harry Rüdham (b. 1996) graduated with a First in BA Fine Art in 2019 from Central Saint Martins, where his studies also included a year at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. His distinctive style fuses the classical motif of the reclining figure with a strikingly abstract approach. Inspired by the fantastical scenes of Old Masters such as Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch alongside the abstract color studies of Bauhaus artists, Rüdham’s paintings fuse their theories into a contemporary context. His paintings are crowded with intersecting figures, stylized as floating or falling silhouettes repeated across brightly textured scenes, with a concentrated focus on forced perspective achieved through scale and pattern. Presenting a yearning for an idyll of abundance and ease, the works also suggest an intense and palpable desire for human connection at a time of uncertainty, unrest and solitude. Rüdham’s work has featured in numerous group exhibitions in the UK and Germany including the Venco Gallery Edition iii Exhibition, Berlin (2018) and Young Contemporaries, London (2019) which he also curated. In 2020 Rüdham was the subject of a solo online exhibition with Julia Campbell Carter and he initiated the residency, ‘Sit Down, Have a Corona’ in order to support artists during the global pandemic.