A group show in which six works by Cumberland were exhibited, which continued his exploration of the tragicomic and playful use of abstraction through linear and loosely primitive cartoon like paintings of piles of shapes and human limbs.
Cumberland’s intention through painting is to satisfy the eye, albeit momentarily, by comically treating the potentially tragic
theme of the body as immobile, trapped or limited in its movements and ability. The tragicomic is a subject most specifically
associated with theatre. In painting the late works of Rembrandt, Picasso and Philip Guston can be said to be tragicomic.
The six paintings that comprise this output are titled Grand Escape, Grand Escape II, Marlon Brando, Marco Pantani, David
Hemmings, and Sir Alan Bates. They were of two sizes – medium (130x97cm) and large (195x160cm), which both relate to a
human scale – one slightly smaller than lifesize and the other slightly larger. The work develops Cumberland’s ongoing
exploration of gesture, seen for example in a series of drawings shown at Sprüth Magers Gallery in Munich in 2004 (alongside
internationally renowned artists such as Carroll Dunham and Robert Crumb), in which gesture was analysed through various
techniques such as direct drawing with brush and paint, overhead projection assisted drawing and silk-screen printing.
Director Jenni Lomax and curator Bruce Haines of Camden Arts Centre invited Cumberland and six other London based artists
to participate in this exhibition. This show was positively reviewed, with full colour reproductions by Adrian Searle in The
Guardian and Sarah Kent in Time Out magazine. Co-exhibitors included artists represented by galleries internationally,
including London and New York, such as Ian Kaier and Francis Upritchard. Of Cumberland’s work included, one is now
exhibited at the Ernst and Young building on London’s Southbank and another was subsequently purchased through a Belgian
Gallery which now represents him.