london

Derek Jarman, Eyes, 1986, oil and mixed media on canvas, 14 1/3 x 10 1/2 x 1 1/8".

Derek Jarman

Wilkinson Gallery

Derek Jarman, Eyes, 1986, oil and mixed media on canvas, 14 1/3 x 10 1/2 x 1 1/8".

Derek Jarman’s best-known paintings are probably the “Evil Queen” series of 1993—the final group of angry, colorful, expressionistic works he made before his death the following year. Yet the “Black Paintings,” created between 1986 and 1993—some seventeen of which were neatly hung on the ground floor—offer a wider range of insights into his artistic practice. These small, squarish painted assemblages, made primarily with tar and black oil paint embedded with objects, have rarely been exhibited since his death. Their imagery includes wreaths, thorns, Christ, widows, smashed glass, teeth, superheroes and villains, bullets, and paintbrushes; also contained in them are the seeds of the protest-driven queer spirit that would lead to the “Evil Queens.” Their dark, poetic humor crossed with Catholic imagery, however, lends them a greater range of feeling.

For example,

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