That Was Close
Humphrey Ocean 

DKUK presents ‘That Was Close’ featuring the work of contemporary British painter Humphrey Ocean RA. The exhibition takes visitors through Ocean’s artistic explorations, including anthropological drawings, a portrait and recent paintings of his immediate environment. The show will run from 15 January to 11 May.

The four drawings are from 1988 when Humphrey Ocean accompanied the anthropologist Stephen Nugent to Northern Brazil resulting in the book Big Mouth: The Amazon Speaks (Fourth Estate, 1990). On their travels Nugent, as ‘sentient sponge’, observed the contradictions of a changing Amazonia while Ocean ‘fragilely armed with nib, ink, pen and pad’ drew an everyday existence.

Ocean’s gaze has always been local, “things 3 feet away from me”. Like DKUK he is a south London resident. Council houses, cars and road signs are treated with the same reverie as barbers in the rainforest. While sitting for his portrait Daniel remarked on the similarity to being in the hairdresser’s chair, emphasising the uniqueness and impermanence of each moment.