Benjamin Deakin | Sarah Macdonald | Danny Rolph | Diana Taylor
Curated by Benjamin Deakin and Emma Elia-Shaul
26 September - 18 October 2015
Artists' Talk Saturday 10 October 2pm
This exhibition explores the illusionary depth of the painted surface. Screen in this case becomes a metaphor for the painted surface, to operate as a dynamic space in which the intentions and efforts of the artist are simultaneously revealed and concealed. Screens slide, intersect and divide pictorial space, and in works such as Velázquez’ ‘Las Meninas’, they can become the painting within the painting.
One of the unique properties of painting is that decision-making strategies made by the painter are often apparent in the final work even when they weren't intended to be. 'Screened' or 'veiled' within the surface', the best efforts to cover their tracks - by even the most assiduous artists - are futile as paint becomes more transparent over time revealing the struggles and accidents beneath. This phenomenon is known as pentimento, where each layer of a painting is one that reveals as much as it obscures.
Benjamin Deakin's paintings appear at first glance to be firmly rooted in the landscape tradition. On closer inspection they reveal themselves to be constructed, almost as theatrical spaces. He has an on-going interest in the way in which landscapes and environments acquire cultural significance and how this affects our relationship to them in visual media. His work is informed by travels to parts of the world where such interpretations can be multi-layered. These interests have taken him to the Himalayas, the Arctic Circle and the Deserts of Bolivia among other places.
Sarah Macdonald’s paintings examine the act of looking. Planes of colour build layers that distort scale, structure and surface to create an uncertainty in the paintings. The paintings aim to explore complex relationships around the value of time within the painted surface. Through recent motifs such as park furniture, coffee cups on a train table, a bus shelter, a highland landscape she invites the viewer to consider the status of space and form within the virtual space of the work.
Danny Rolph's practice draws from quotidian recollections. His visual language is informed by memories of sky high views growing up by London's City Road and the urban vernacular of its surroundings; chrome yellow anti-graffiti paint on communal stairway walls and words like SHAM 69 sprayed on play ground climbing frames. In his paintings the urban meets the historical; the Post Office Tower and Tiepolo meet in an iconoclastic clash to the sounds and graphics of Top of the Pops, Pong and Subbuteo; celebrated and understood in equal measure.
Diana Taylor's paintings explore redundancy, failure and ruin in visual culture. Screen-printing, photocopiers and analogue projectors are used, as much for their visual qualities as for their inherent ability to produce failures. Digital screen glitches combined with patterns from cross-stitch and tapestries create a palimpsest of collaged cultural media, highlighting the contradictions and failures of our times.