Photo Flash: Sneak Peek - Broadway, Jazz Greats Featured in Gilson Lavis Exhibition
Unique portraits of many Broadway and jazz musical legends will be featured at highly respected British drummer and artist Gilson Lavis' first ever New York City art exhibit "Gilson Lavis: In Tune With The Portraits" at the Salomon Arts Gallery at 83 Leonard Street in Tribeca from September 15th through October 5th, 2017. His paintings have become very much sought after in British music and art world inner circles. Scroll down for a sneak peek at the collection below!
This unique collection of acrylic on canvas board paintings and ink drawings by the veteran rock and R & B drummer are now making their U.S. debut, with the exhibit including portraits of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Buddy Rich and Gene Kruppa, along with iconic performers Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Ray Charles and Nat King Cole.
Currently known as the superbly versatile drummer with Jools Holland's Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and the original drummer for the British band Squeeze, Gilson Lavis is now shining the spotlight on his second career as an artist, after enjoying acclaim as one of the most sought after drummers in the UK over the last 40 years.
Lavis started the hugely popular Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra over twenty years ago, with longtime friend and former Squeeze band mate Holland, who, of course, has become an institution in the U. K. hosting BBC Television's Later With Jools Holland over the last twenty five years. The orchestra performs throughout Europe and the U.K on a very regular basis.
Much of his inspiration as an artist came out of genuine respect for many of the talented people he has admired, known and played with over the years, which reads like a "Who's Who" of popular music. As most people know, Gilson was a founding member and original drummer in the group Squeeze, along with pianist Holland. Squeeze achieved huge success all though the 1980's and Gilson later went on to perform live or record with the likes of Bryan Ferry, Eric Clapton, Smokey Robinson, Cher, Paul McCartney, Barry White, BB King, Robert Plant, Amy Winehouse and so many others.
As he explains, "I find a peace and serenity in art that I have never known before. Most of my portraits feature artists and performers I have had the privilege of working with and that have been of inspiration to me. My art is a painted biography of my musical life, one I can never hope to finish, but what a joy it is to engage in. I enjoy working in black and white, giving my art a bit of stage drama and allowing me to play with The Shadows, while occasionally adding a little splash of color. My work, I hope, communicates the close working relationship I have with many of the subjects I paint."
And, as Music Riot in the UK remarked in their recent story....."I'm fascinated by the paintings and the way they reflect the personalities of the people Gilson portrayed. It struck me that, while they're not hyper-realistic, they're a long way from caricature".
The subjects in Lavis' series of paintings and sketches span the decades from the 1950's and 60's.....BB King, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Eartha Kitt, James Brown, Wilson Picket, Ray Charles, Ronnie Spector, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin....to the more contemporary.....Keith Moon, Al Green, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Debbie Harry, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello.....to current day songstresses like Adele and the late Amy Winehouse.
Much like New York City, the art and music worlds in London often overlap. Many of his musician and tastemaker friends there began collecting his paintings, which are increasingly in demand in celebrity circles. "Gilson Lavis: In Tune With The Portraits" is being presented at the Salomon Arts Gallery, a mainstay on the Tribeca art and music scene since the 1970's. Rodrigo and Gigi Salomon have been bringing together the worlds of art and music through their exhibits and various events for many years, since the early days of the NY downtown art explosion, doing their part to keep the Tribeca art community alive and thriving.
"Gilson Lavis: In Tune With The Portraits" will be on view at the Salomon Arts Gallery at 83 Leonard Street in Tribeca from September 15th through October 5th, 2017. Visit salomonarts.com for more information.
Count Basie, circa 1979. Ink drawing on paper. Signed by artist.
Louis Armstrong, circa 1960. Ink drawing on paper. Signed by artist.
Nat King Cole. Ink sketch by Gilson Lavis. 14 x 12 inches framed.
Ray Charles, circa 1986. 18.25 x 22.5 inches. Acrylic on canvas board. Signed by artist.
Sammy Davis Jr., circa 1964. 20.25 x 24.5 inches. Acrylic on canvas board. Signed by artist.