Frank To, the young Glasgow-based artist with a growing international reputation as a leading contemporary figurative painter, has been swamped by requests from prospective purchasers desperate to put down deposits to snap up his latest plague doctor paintings before the paint has even dried on them.
To’s latest paintings will be on show at the Caledoniart Christmas Exhibition at the Air Gallery in London from 28th November to 3rd December, having been inspired to produce additional plague doctor paintings, following the sell-out of the original series of paintings at an exhibition in Leith this spring.
The series of figurative paintings, predominantly oil on canvas, was inspired by personal and national, historic and modern preoccupations and themes which have a direct bearing on the location of the exhibition as well as its content and form.
To said: “When the plague hit London in 1665, most doctors, lawyers and merchants fled the city. Charles II and his courtiers left for Hampton Court then Oxford. Parliament was postponed and had to sit at Oxford in October. Court cases were also moved from Westminster to Oxford. Plague Doctors were hired by the government to treat the affected and dying, despite the officials fleeing the city due to the outbreak.
“In these paintings I explore the Great Plague of 1665 as a metaphor for the current global economic crisis: both events directly affect individuals, indiscriminately, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, on an international level.”
The artist will once again don a plague doctor costume commissioned specially to his own specifications for the exhibition.
“The way I work is to get really heavily involved in the subject matter,” he said. “For me to understand the subject matter fully, I need to explore it and engage with it on a personal level.
“How do I really know what plague doctors went through unless I go through the same experience? That’s why, inspired partly by the method school of acting, as part of the exhibition I’ll be wearing a plague doctors costume to engage with members of the public and visitors on College Green, opposite the House of Parliament at the exhibition opening on Monday, 28th November to mark the fact that it was government officials who hired plague doctors following the outbreak of the Great Plague in 1665.”
Featured paintings on show at the exhibition will be: The Consultation, on sale for £2200; The Season of The Witch Doctor, £1300; Self-portrait Study With Plague Dr Mask, £600 and Tears of Jupiter, £1600.
The Caledoniart Christmas Exhibition is at the Air Gallery, 32 Dover Street, London, from 28th November till 3rd December.
For further information please contact Frank To on tel 07796 312613
Issued on behalf of Frank To Fine Art by Liquorice Media tel 0141 561 4018 www.liquorice-media.com Date 25th November 2011
Notes to Editors
- Born in Falkirk in 1982, To graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a BA (Hons) Fine Art before going on to gain a Masters of Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone Art College where his tutor was Calum Colvin. In recent years he has exhibited alongside some of the greats of the international art scene, including Banksy, Jimmy Choo and Antony Gormley.
- His work has featured in several national art fairs and shows in Bath, Harrogate, London, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow and in the collection of Dundee University.
- Amongst To’s most famous collectors are Sir Patrick Stewart, the celebrated actor, and Deloitte.