Minami Kobayashi & Patrick Procktor - Place and Presence

2 March - 1 April 2023

Frestonian Gallery is delighted to present its first exhibition of new works by Minami Kobayashi (b. 1989), alongside and in dialogue with selected works by Patrick Procktor (1936-2003).


Kobayashi, who now lives and works in London, is a graduate of the Toyko University of the Arts and the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Her work centres on notions of ephemerality, of the fleeting moment and the function of memory. Her luminous oils on canvas comprise interleaving narratives, composed of chance encounters, half-forgotten gestures and vivid memories of place. In works such as Dog and Harvest Moon the tableau presented is ambiguous – at once calm and charged with multiple possibilities and meanings. Other works such as Journaling on the Staircase and At the Conservatory centre on a single, stolen moment – the act of writing; an embrace – and radiate out from that chance point in time.


Patrick Procktor was one of most gifted artists of his generation. A virtuoso talent, he blazed a trail across the London art world in the 60s and 70s. Although in later life he suffered from addiction and personal tragedy, his work always maintained its remarkable quality. In the Procktor works on show here such as Hockney and Amaya, Lucca (1967) and Eric and Gervase (1969) the quick-setting medium of watercolour and the chance gestures of the subjects combine perfectly to also evoke a sense of this ‘stolen moment’. The figures in Procktor’s paintings, most often close friends, lovers and fellow artists, are depicted not in formal poses but in their most natural, unguarded states.


Kobayashi and Procktor, each sharing a love for the quietly observed moment; the oblique ‘portrait’, also value the peculiar properties of light and form in different places and parts of the world. Procktor observed that the various corners of the globe he visited lent distinct qualities to his painting (“the light in Egypt is violet, in China daffodil, in Venice opalescent”), so too Kobayashi collects and merges the literal and sense memories of her travels into each picture-plane – an interior bedroom scene segues into a parkland from her childhood in Nagoya; the base of the white cliffs of Dover erupt into wild jungle fauna.


In ways entirely distinct but sympathetic to each other, Procktor and Kobayashi define the realities in their beautifully realised scenes according to what feels right to their subjects – studies of humans (and in Kobayashi’s case animals too) that are both specific and universal characters... rendered always with a light touch, but also a depth that reveals an enduring and powerfully communicated tenderness.