Dale Lewis

Daily Bread

April 5th /May 15th 2024.

Dale Lewis (b. Essex, UK, 1980) grew up and continues to reside in Essex, near London. Over the past seven years, he has cultivated a distinctive style centered on monumental-sized paintings that draw inspiration from various sources, including Italian and Northern Renaissance art, his travel experiences, and the working-class environment of North East London. The artist aptly describes his practice as Social Painting, reflecting both the political consciousness embedded in his compositions and the relational aspect of his work, which captures life one story at a time. While Lewis addresses specific and deeply personal themes such as gay life or addiction, he refuses to confine himself, deliberately selecting subjects to empower the medium.

A consummate technician, Lewis is wholly dedicated to the craft of painting, utilizing oil straight from the tube to create rich, tactile surfaces. His palette is vibrant, transforming the ordinary or gritty facets of contemporary life into subjects celebrated through paint. A scene of casual encounters in a local park evokes Cranach’s Three Graces, while a memory of intoxicated individuals during lockdown is rendered as an epic composition reminiscent of Rubens, charged with horror and animus.

Dale Lewis does not merely observe life; he endeavors to transmute it into the language of paint itself.

For this exhibition, Lewis spent six intense weeks creating a monumental piece measuring 2 by 9 meters, commemorating a trip to South Florida characterized by revelry and chaos. The work serves as a testament to his first solo show in the United States, encapsulating his exploration of crowd dynamics and dense group compositions influenced by Bruegel. Chaos, states of intense disequilibrium, and a meticulous attention to detail permeate the work, as Lewis fills the canvas with human figures, sometimes seemingly trampling one another. Amidst the tumultuous scenes, a cosmic undercurrent suggests the quest for order within chaos.

For Lewis, painting is a form of resistance against despair, akin to American beat poetry, notably the works of Bukowski. Each epic painting stands as a defiance against the prevailing modern malaise of the 21st century.

Dale Lewis (b. 1980) earned a BA in Fine Art from London Guildhall in 2002, an MFA from Brighton in 2006, and completed the Turps Studio Programme in 2015. Recent solo exhibitions include “No Place Like Home” at Block 336, London, UK (2021); “The Great Day” at Edel Assanti, London, UK (2020); “Free Range” at Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2019); and “Fat, Sugar, Salt” at Edel Assanti, London, UK (2018). Recent group exhibitions include “The Day I Saw You” at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Querétaro MACQ, Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico (2023) and “Friends and Friends of Friends” at Schlossmuseum, Linz, Austria (2020). In 2021, Lewis unveiled a permanent 8-meter-high mural at Picturehouse’s newest central London cinema. He was awarded the Jerwood Painting Fellowship in 2016. His work is held in international collections, including The Arsenal, Montreal, Canada; By Art Matters, Hangzhou, China; David Roberts Art Foundation, London, UK; Fundacion AMMA, Mexico; Government Art Collection, London, UK; Hort Foundation, New York, USA; and Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK. Dale Lewis currently resides and works in London.