Dialogues / New paintings from London
opening: 22 /9 at 4 PM
exhibition dates: 23/9 2018 - 3/2 2019
curators: Radka Zahradnik ( GASK), Ben Tufnell (Parafin)
The ambition of this exhibition is to provide a focused snapshot of some aspects of painting in London now. Rather than spread the net wide and represent many artists with a single work we have decided to focus on a small group of just five young artists, but to show each in some depth. The title very deliberately suggests not only the dialogues between artists working in the same city, connected by art schools, studio complexes and social networks, showing alongside each other in group exhibitions, but a dialogue with the art of the past.
For while these five artists occupy radically different positions, what connects them - aside from geography and their shared engagement with different registers of figuration - is an interest in aspects of history and tradition and the ways they can be repurposed to address the present. How this is manifested varies enormously. Alex Gough (born 1981) who identifies as an abstract artist, nonetheless encodes references to landscape into his densely process-led paintings and in this context, can be seen to be working with a kind of submerged figuration. His works seem to offer both micro and macro views of nature: ice, water, rock formations, weather systems, lakes and forests. One is reminded of aspects of the British landscape tradition, specifically John Ruskin’s forensic studies of rocks, minerals and other natural specimens, and Turner’s obsessive studies of clouds and light. Ross Taylor (born 1982) is fascinated by a different history, an alternative 'magickal' tradition connected to ideas of Olde England; pub signs, folk art, rural legends. His paintings employ a dreamlike and surreally diagrammatic visual language to evoke a haunted space. Recent paintings by Caroline Walker (born 1982) illuminate the hidden world of ‘service’, the behind-the-scenes activities of the cleaners – who are exclusively female - maintaining the immaculate interiors of glossy hotels. However, while seeming to adopt an almost documentary approach Walker’s paintings are carefully considered constructions in which we might find echoes of interiors by Vermeer or John Singer Sargent. Hugo Wilson (born 1982) and Flora Yukhnovich (born 1990) repurpose motifs, palettes and painterly gestures from the Old Masters to explore aesthetic codes, specifically the ways in which painted images encrypt systems of belief and/or gendered positions. While Wilson investigates the transmission of certain motifs from the Renaissance to 1980s cartoons and computer games, exploring continuing visual resonances from context to context, Yukhnovich traces ‘Barbie pink’ back to the eroticized Rococco stylings of Watteau and Fragonard.