“Introducing” at Tarpey Gallery
The new(ish) exhibition showing at Tarpey Gallery until 12 May 2012, is a mixed show entitled Introducing, and includes work by Andrew Macara, Nick Hedderly, Denise Weston, David Crouch, Joan Ainley, Sarah R Key, Steven Ingman, Michelle Keegan and David Manley.
I have already met David Manley, not in person, but we have exchanged blog comments from time to time. I have seen and liked his paintings before and blogged about them here. He has an interesting blog here and a Rise Art portfolio here. His new paintings, the deadly delicious series, are based on diseases or viruses like Bird Flu, Marburg or HIV etc. Here they are in petri dishes looking quite beautiful. And they both are, and are not, representations of something (which themselves both are, and at the same time are not, representations of something).
These paintings, like others of his I have seen, seem to skirt between abstraction and figuration. They get me thinking about what representation and abstraction might be. I also find myself wondering about decoration and what makes something seem decorative, and what its purpose might be. No virus is ever ‘merely decorative’ and no painting is either, even when it is most overtly decorative.
Andrew Macara‘s paintings also seems to inhabit a space between abstraction and figuration, but more towards the figurative. I find his use of colour, for description and for decoration, stunning.
Just look at the colour in those shadows in the painting on the right!
…and that orange! I am lost for words, literally. If I wanted to find some words I could read the book Andrew Macarra by Jonathan Riley, there is a copy on display and a few for sale.
Another painter in this show who seems to play with the boundaries between figuration and abstraction is David Crouch. I have a strong sense that they are landscapes or interiors. Even though the shapes I am seeing don’t seem to form into things I can recognise, I do have the sense that they are “things”, or journeys perhaps, in vaguely defined spaces.
But how much of what the artist has drawn in paint on these canvases has a connection to something out there in the “real world”, and how much of it is from the imagination? Also, how do the shapes and colours on the canvas relate to what was in the artist’s imagination and how much is improvised? There are clues in the evidence of underpainting and revision, and I suspect that much of Crouch’s process involves improvisation. And isn’t that also the case with vision? How much of what I am seeing in these works is the residue of a communication and how much is my own invention? And for that matter, how much of anything I see in the “real world” is “out there” and how much is constructed “in here”? These are questions that all visual art raises, yet somehow especially so in these (kind of) works.
Again I can find out more about the artists preoccupations in a book, this time written by the artist, entitled Flirting with Space. No doubt when I read it I will find out just how wrong my interpretations were!