From September 7-11, All Alone in a Crowded Room is Ant’s largest exhibition of oil paintings to date. Best known for his bold large-scale murals, including the iconic Brick Lane mural of a woman with a skull, Ant’s work recently featured prominently at Upfest in Bristol, where thousands flock to see these murals every year.
This iconography is developed in All Alone in a Crowded Room. His paintings feature traditional emblems such as flowers, dice, playing cards, skulls and empty chairs. This mixture of contemporary objects and traditional portraits gives Ant’s work a decidedly modern touch at odds with his medium.
Inspired by the grief he felt after tragically losing his best friend, Oli Hilsdon, to a brain tumor just before his 27th birthday, Ant hopes the paintings in this upcoming exhibition will inspire other young people to find ways to express their feelings of grief and loss.
In addition to the 22 paintings featured in the exhibition, Ant is also creating a mural as it nears its opening. This mural will be the third in his series and will add to the two he created in May for the Upfest street art festival in Bristol. This will appear in east London and culminate in the exhibition where all 22 oil paintings will be revealed together.
Ant said: “I started producing this work to explore feelings of loss that I couldn’t put into words. I hope my exhibition will help people discuss grief, a topic that can feel isolating, especially for people who might feel they are dealing with it alone.
“This project has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but, in the end, it has helped me express my feelings. I hope the work can help others come together and express themselves.”
In addition to the mural and the exhibit itself, Ant is also compiling a book that will combine images of the paintings with written contributions from anonymous individuals. The stories will document their personal experiences of grief to further help people manage their own emotions. Launched on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition, the book will also support The Oli Hilsdon Foundationset up in memory of Ant’s late friend.
All Alone In A Crowded Room: Paintings by Ant Carver runs from 7-11 September at the Copeland Gallery, Peckham. Free entry. Learn more about [Ant’s website]www.antcarver.com and on his Instagram.