Denzil Forrester: 'Itchin & Scratchin' travels to Spike Island
Spike Island presents a selection of paintings and works on paper by Denzil Forrester in his largest institutional exhibition to date. Titled 'Itchin & Scratchin', the show spans Forrester's engagement with the dimly lit dancehalls of 1980s East London to the present-day open-air clubs of Jamaica. The exhibition travelled from Nottingham Contemporary, where it opened in February 2020.
Focusing on large-scale paintings made by the Grenada-born, Cornwall-based artist from the last two decades, the exhibition comprises vivid, colourful works that capture the dynamic energy of the London reggae and dub nightclub scene during the early 1980s, a subject that has endured throughout 40 years of the artist's practice. Forrester's paintings typically begin as quick sketches, often made during the length of a single track and drawn quasi-blind on dark, bustling dancefloors.
Having visited Kingston for the first time earlier this year, the artist also showcases a new body of work that captures the vibrant atmosphere of the city's sound systems. Five new paintings are exhibited alongside original, preparatory drawings that Forrester made whilst immersed in Jamaica's nightlife. 'Itchin & Scratchin' is punctuated by significant earlier works to demonstrate the breadth of the artist's practice, Forrester's use of recurring motifs and his continued commitment to exploring the energy of London's music halls.
The exhibition is presented in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary and curated by Sam Thorne, with assistance by Olivia Aherne.