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India-based artist to Norwich with solo show at NUA

An internationally exhibiting artist who spent his formative years studying his discipline at Norwich University of the Arts is returning to the city in December to show his latest works. Alec Cumming, who graduated from the University with a degree in Fine Art in 2007, will present a selection of his abstract paintings in a show at the Gallery at NUA on St Georges Street.

To Wander, To Lust is described as a reflection of the artist’s dedication, hard work and love of his practice. His paintings present shapes and forms that can suggest everyday objects, landscape, figuration and make other references. The ambiguity and the vagueness of his visual forms allow the viewer the freedom to play with what they are seeing and enjoy the liberty this brings.

Cumming’s latest works were created in Neb Sarai in India, where for the last year he has been working on increasingly larger canvases, leading to a new preference for large vertical formats. He sees himself not as a painter working in the tradition of British abstraction, nor as a painter dislocated from his roots in Norfolk, but simply as a contemporary artist who is part of the vibrant and living Delhi art scene.

Alec says: “It is very exciting to have a show at NUA, it feels like success, a homecoming. To Wander, To Lust presents paintings from two years I spent in India, which has informed a lot of what’s going on in my work. I didn’t go to India essentially to paint Indian things, I went to paint. The exposure to India has come out in the paintings organically.

“People say my work is abstract, and to some extent it is, but there are things in the paintings which suggest form. I think of it like a foreign language. In India I would spend a lot of time at parties not talking because everyone was speaking Hindi. As I started to learn Hindi I would pick up on words, much like in paintings you pick up on forms, and base the narrative of the conversation on those words. It didn’t matter if I was wrong, it was about listening and gaining a great sense of pleasure from hearing that language. That’s how I want people to look at my paintings, finding that narrative within them, wandering and lusting through them.”

He returns to Norwich after his first solo exhibition at the British Council Queen’s Gallery in Delhi, with his next solo show already confirmed in New York. To Wander, To Lust is brought to the Gallery at NUA through the British Council, which fosters the exchange of cultural expression and ideas between people around the world, and Art 18/21, which has been introducing a host of Indian and UK artists to each other’s audiences for several years.

To Wander, To Lust opens at The Gallery at NUA on St Georges Street from Tuesday 3 December to Saturday 11 January, 12pm to 5pm (closed Sunday and Monday). Admission is free. The Gallery at NUA will be closed Tuesday 24 December to Wednesday 1 January inclusive.

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