The Woolff Gallery is excited to present a group exhibition focused on Abstract Art.

We have selected works by 10 artists from a variety of countries including Canada, Chile, USA, New Zealand, as well as from the UK, some of these artists such as Laurent Viens, Carolyn Cole and Verona Sorensen are to be exhibiting in the UK for the first time.

The artists selected for this exhibition embrace a range of techniques and inspirations within their work - from printing and engraving, to the more traditional aspects of abstract painting. Every one of these artists has work in prestigious private collections across the globe. And whilst each artist presented in this exhibition demonstrates a truly individual approach to their work, they all give a unique flavour of ‘Abstract’ artwork being produced today. There is an excitement and commitment that unites all of these artists illustrating an exploration of their imagination, and the expression of the human mind and soul through art.

Verona Sorensen was born in Montreal to a Filipino nurse and a West Coast Nordic painter. Her earlier years were spent between the Eastern Townships and Mexico. After completing a BFA at Montreal’s Concordia University, Verona embarked on her painting career when she was invited to apprentice with the ‘Dormice’ art collective in Florence, Italy. After 2 years of training in Italy, she moved to Ajijic, Mexico to study encaustic painting. Sorensen’s exhibition history includes solo shows at the Winsor Gallery in Vancouver, Artfirm Gallery in Calgary, Ajolote Arte Contemporain and Haus der Kunst in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Rosemont La Maison de la Culture in Montreal. She featured in prominent international group shows at the Gallery Ernst Hilger, the Galerie Burgenlaendisches in Austria, the Pushkin Gallery in Massachusetts and the SJCS gallery in Washington, D.C.. In Canada she participated in numerous collective exhibitions, most notably at the Hayden Beck Gallery in Whistler, and in Montreal at the Hollinger Collins Contemporary Fine Arts, and Gallery D’Este.Verona’s works can be found in the major corporate collections of Loto-Quebec, Bankers Hall and Jameson Development Corp. Her work can also be found in important private collections in Canada, Europe, Mexico and the United States.

Carolyn Cole finds her voice within the rich traditions of abstraction and creates a cohesive body of work that translates into a language of intense colour, sumptuous textures, and organic compositions. Colour plays an important role in describing the value and mood of each work. Cole’s textured surfaces and abstract artworks are instinctively achieved through the process of applying multiple layers of pigment and collage to the canvas. An honours graduate of Portland State University in 1977, Cole’s work has been exhibited all over the United States, including the Seattle Art Museum and Portland Art Museum. She spent ten years as an artist in New York City, where she exhibited extensively before settling back into the Northwest in 1991. She is represented by art galleries in Chicago, Carmel, Portland, and Englewood, NJ. Her paintings are included in numerous private and public collections including former Vice President Al Gore, Gordon Seigel, president of Crate & Barrel, former Presidential Chief of Staff John Podesta, Disney Productions, Zale Corporation, IBM Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, RNM Properties, Salton, Inc., TRW Corporation, American Express, Campbell Soup Company, and the Heinz Corporation.

Charlotte Cornish studied a degree in Fine Art (Printmaking) at Brighton University from 1987-1990, followed by postgraduate courses at the Slade School of Fine Art and Central St Martins in London. She is currently living and working in Cambridge, UK. Cornish’s work is included in numerous corporate collections including: Addenbrookes NHS Trust Hospital, Aldrich Collection, ING Bank, Anglia Water, A.T.& T. Communications, John Lewis Partnership, Aviva Investors, Kasser Foundation USA, Balfour Beatty, Bank of England, Bank of Montreal, Bass PLC, Morgan Stanley, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, BT, OOCL (Europe) Ltd, Phoenix International UK, Santa Fe Exploration UK, Vitol Group of Companies, Fujitsu, William Baird, and GlaxoSmithKline. Her work can also be found within the collections of several Cambridge University colleges including Cambridge University Chemistry Department, Emmanuel College, Trinity Hall, as well as in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Maria Luisa Hernandez was born in Chile and grew up in Santiago. Maria studied for her Masters degree at the University of Chile, she then exhibited in New York, and soon after she won a scholarship to exhibit in Stockholm (the European Capital of Culture at the time) with a collection of paintings entitled ‘Living in the Light’. Hernandez currently lives and works near the River Thames in London. Initially inspired by her father’s passion for painting the Chilean coastline she developed an extraordinary eye to paint and connect with the natural beauty that surrounds her. Her work expresses ‘passion and love by the sea’, and she is inspired by ‘the rain and every sunset in Spring’.

Russell West is mostly known for his unique three dimensional ‘dripping’ paint artworks, however throughout his career he has produced work in a wide variety of mediums and techniques. West has termed this latest series of works ‘Abstract Escapism’. These artworks display elements of the artists’ signature ‘dripping’ paint technique, although by framing the artworks West presents them in what initially appears to be a more ‘conventional’ style. Whereas West would usually avoid framing his work as he considers a frame to confine and trap the work, the frames in these pieces are significant. Sourced from a former psychiatric hospital on the Isle of White, the material used by the artist to create the frames was once the beading used around the inside of the hospital windows. The dark colour was specifically chosen by West to imply the many constraints and restrictions enforced upon the patients within the hospital, and the bold, bright colours used within the artworks suggest a magnificent, dream-like escapism as the patient gazes through the windows, surveying the outside world. West lives and works on the Isle of White, UK where he continues to create stunning, unique works in a style which cannot be rivalled.

Gurley ’s artwork is a constant build up of artistic processes. Developing early ideas using collage and mixed media, she then transfers her work from sketch book to silk screens where she creates highly skilled, unique and individual works – all displaying a multitude of snapshots of her personal experiences. Described by Agyness Deyn as one of her favourite artists, Gurley’s work shows a playful meandering across today’s society and media. Gurley’s latest work uses New York City as a main focus and inspiration. In these works personal photographs, her own imagery, and handwriting are incorporated along with elements of mass-media imagery evoking a feeling of familiarity within a seemingly chaotic structure. Hershey’s, Coca-Cola, yellow cabs, diners – they are all there, drawing you further in as you spot them one by one.

Canadian artist Laurent Viens works mainly with wood and metal, constantly challenging himself, and thriving to produce work that celebrates those who have crossed his path. Black – in various media and texture - has always played an important role in Viens’ artwork. Trained by Brother Jérôme (a mentor of many Quebec artists) at the age of 12, and with very limited financial means, Viens needed to find materials that would enable him to paint at little cost. He purchased a gallon of roofing tar and through experimentation, realised that a subtle palette of at least twenty shades, could be achieved through dilution. Since then tar as a medium has continued to inhabit his artwork. Despite the presence of black and use of dark shades, light too is important in Viens work. Through working on white grounds, exploring engraving, paper, polished metal, linoleum and many other materials he successfully incorporates light into his work. Viens often works unconventional canvasses. Wood, metal, aluminium, steel, car hoods, and, also a sculptor, in 2011, Laurent completed the installation of a large-scale, steel transport-themed sculpture in Quebec’s City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Since 2011 Laurent Viens has been working on this unique URBANIA series (as shown in this exhibition). This approach integrates sculpture, engraving and painting on both concave and convex structures. These large scale, 3 dimensional, innovative artworks emanate a sense of calm. His work is beautifully tactile and displays a sense of delicateness and subtlety true to the artist’s 40 years of experience.

Alex Jorgenson was born in 1967 in London, trained at Bath Academy of Art, and Brighton Polytechnic, where he gained first class honours in Fine Art, he was also awarded the Annabel Birtles Memorial Prize. He set up a printmaking workshop near Bath in the early ‘90s and during this time made small oil paintings and engravings which were shown widely in the UK, Japan and Norway. Jorgenson moved back to London in 1996 where he began investigating the unique properties of encaustic at his Limehouse studio. The scale of his work increased and became popular with London art consultants, architects and designers - from bedrooms (Candy & Candy) to boardrooms (Loyens & Loeff). His output increased considerably at this time and was exhibited extensively. Like so much of Alex’s work, these paintings were subtle, with an innate calmness and quiet. By 2005, although still working with encaustic, the largest works were no more than 20 x 40cm in size. Little of the work from this period has ever been exhibited. Recent years have seen a return to small oil paintings and a move to Buckinghamshire in 2012 has prompted a renewed interest in landscape.

Zac Greening sites the natural world as his predominant source of inspiration. Through his artwork Greening aims to depict man’s inextricable economic, social and spiritual link with the natural environment. Common themes found in Zac’s work include sustainability, biodiversity, ecology and recycling. Greening hopes that viewers of his work will recognise and re-engage with all of nature’s attributes and be reminded of our fragile and symbiotic relationship with the natural environment. As well as exhibiting in galleries across Europe and the USA, Greening has been commissioned by a number of well known architects and interior designers to create a variety of site specific works in locations such as Abbey House Gardens, The BFI, The Eden Project, and well as for The Big Chill Ltd. Greening has also created artworks for corporate clients such as BP, Speedo, and BMW, as well as for retailers such as Harrods, Jigsaw, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, and Monsoon. Awards include T4C prize 2012, Bath Prize 2010, and Green Awards 2006 - commissioned by Group Energy.

Ashley Shaw (aka Bobby Kurb) was born in New Zealand in 1971. His family moved to Reading, UK in 1976. A dedicated and passionate artist from a very early age Shaw worked on large murals during his school years, he then served as an apprentice for the painter and sculptor Rudi Musu, and later in the building and architectural trades in order to support his artistic career. From 1992-2001 Shaw’s work could be found in exhibitions throughout England, and in 1998 he produced the acclaimed [The Fire] The Fire at the Home of Her Majesty the Queen. His work was also commissioned for The Chambers at the Houses of Parliament, London. In 2002 Shaw and his wife moved to New Zealand, he successfully built up his artistic reputation in a new country and was invited to present solo-exhibitions in Jonathan Grant Galleries in Auckland, City Art in Christchurch, and Central Galleries in Queenstown. His work was also included in a number of group shows, and he started working on his new abstract/modern style works at this time. In 2008 he presented a nine metre canvas: ‘The miners and the Sheiks’, at a public gallery in Timaru, and here his artwork really started to create a stir. Following the earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 & 2011 Shaw and his wife moved to Auckland. He then moved back to the UK in 2012. Shaw continues to exhibit work in Queenstown, and is currently working on a new body of work in the UK.