The Ronnie Wood x Ashridge House exhibition runs from 21-27 August 2020
Art Plugged had the pleasure of attending the Private viewing for Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood exhibition at the opulent Ashridge house in Hertfordshire.
The exhibition consists of nearly 100 pieces, inclusive of 20 new works he created during the lockdown phase of the pandemic, original posters from the 1960s he created for The Faces through to the large-scale canvases.
Ronnie is no stranger to sold-out tours with the stones, and within a few hours of announcing the exhibition the tickets were completely sold out, with all the profits from the show being donated to the NHS.
With the legend being outside of his usual creative environment, many unfamiliar with his artwork may struggle to imagine him in front of the canvas. Most would assume Wood’s creativity starts and ends with the guitar.
This would be myopic, as he displays a creative command in many disciplines, ranging from oil painting, working with charcoal, and sculptures. Many of his works are part of private collections, with one of his pieces ‘Beggars Banquet’ fetching one million dollars all the way back in 2005.
His creativity speaks for itself as he documents the legendary performers he has known and worked with from a unique perspective. He is encapsulating them into visual diaries in forms of canvases to create a memorable era in his life. The factual content of his work makes it highly desirable and valuable for art collectors.
On arrival at Ashridge house, you are greeted by well-kept grounds, as you stride through hallways graced with centuries of décor, leading up to the first glimpse of Wood’s artistic expressions in a collection of 5 paintings.
In these pieces, we see immortalising memories of him and his famous peers, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and others, preparing the viewers for the ongoing path of the exhibition.
As we continue to stroll through the exhibition, we are treated to a vast collection of works that seem to be a glimpse into Wood’s memories etch onto canvases and paper.
The collection is a mix of gentle landscapes with a Hockney-esque pastoral calm, and others are fusion of characters and recognisable faces held together by elements of abstraction and shades of black.
The exhibition spans four rooms and ends in Ashridge chapel under an opulent glass ceiling. a Wood’s statement piece in quite symbolic settings displaying a god-like glow from the heavenly light above.
When the new body of work was announced, there was some shade in certain circles being thrown, questioning the rolling stones credibility as an artist, one piece in particular that came up for criticism and opened up wood to the critics was, ‘Destruction of a Civilised Riff’ which was Woods take on Picasso’s Guernica which features the Rolling Stones dancing, among others, however his technique for the piece wins praise by Guardian Jonathan Jones.
In the words of the great Jean Michel Basquiat, “I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is”. We should take note, Wood’s is a Rockstar who has gone against the grain for the many decades, why would we expect another aspect of his creativity to be any different.
The Ronnie Wood x Ashridge House is a must-see exhibition for any art lover especially a stones fan the exhibition runs from 21-27 August 2020.