press release

First and foremost these artists are painters – standing back and intuitively considering their work, they engage with their canvases with the weight of art history bearing down on them. They attack this burden in an iconoclastic manner with languages of surrealism and pop-art at their finger tips and yet they are fundamentallysincere, reverential, perhaps even naïve. The artists in Painting Unperfect produce paintings that aim to surprise themselves as much as the viewer. With beguiling skill they construct with the knowledge that they live in a world bombarded by images and new technologies that continuously bring about mini revolutions in seeing. These artists acknowledge the problem and do it anyway – the result is an explosion of ideas opening up a portal that shoots back to the early epiphanies of the Enlightenment and forward to a hyper galactic highway of the future. We can imagine, and rightly so, that these new generation painters have in one hand an oil stained Sothebys catalogue and in the other the latest copy of Photo-shop. Humour is tempered with beauty, absurdity with poignancy, history with innovation – this is to paint in the unperfect.

Alicia Paz appropriates freely from popular culture mimicking a rough collaged texture with stylistic incongruities rendered meticulously in paint. The works seem to suggest computer construction in their complexity, however, the images are created using cut-outs and mini theatres that are then photographed and translated deftly onto the canvas. Often the protagonists of Paz’s paintings become the creators of their own worlds and therefore the surface of the paintings seem to suggest multiple authors vying for artistic control. Flat areas of delicate trompe l‘oiel’ butt against impasto splashes – pop art gestures mix with photorealist faces and backdrops. The result is a painting with guerrilla tactics constantly ambushing and surprising the viewer.

Justin Mortimer’s painterly gestures belie the fact that the images are constructed on the computer. His scenes of fractured landscapes and superimposed disjointed bodies and limbs create a sense of the uncanny and the disturbed. The intrigue is further deepened by large areas of uncovered canvas and monotone colour. Images that are constructed from clipped images on the computer are then turned into free flowing painterly constructions that move between narrative and abstraction. Sometimes re-photographing the paintings and scanning the images back into the computer in order to play with the painting again as found image, Mortimer shifts continually in relation to his work.

Cheung also uses the computer to construct his visions and then, using a combination of collage, ink, spray paint and computer print out, translates the images on to large scale canvases. For Painting Unperfect Cheung has created a epic piece mixing cartoon monster figures with distorted sublime landscape. ‘Terror’ quietly hints and the hysteria of recent politics and the strange monsters that are created through our own ambitions and desires.

Peter Lamb works with a combination of found image and object to begin his work and then approaching his painting as something alien to himself Lamb begins to confuse the image with layers of Perspex that proclaim with equal levels of drama and banality “Mon Dieu” and “Mien Got”. Lamb’s work is continually referencing art history, but always with a sense of the surprise and wonder rather than dry academic commentary. The shock of a Dead Fox leaping from the Canvas is tempered with a humourous pathos suggested by the foxes damaged and bandaged paws. A sense of respect for what has been before allows Lamb to break down the linear nature of history it to something chaotic that continually makes itself present in contemporary society.

This is the first exhibition of new works by Justin Mortimer since he won East International in 2004. Mortimer came to prominence painting portrait commissions of prominent figures, such as the Queen, his recent work represents a sharp and exciting departure. Alicia Paz presents new work along side a piece exhibited in East International, 2004. Paz is in many collections including the Cerès Museum, France, Hanlim Museum, Taejon, Korea, City of Vitry-sur-Seine, France, City of Valognes, France, “Fond Municipal d’Art Contemporain”, City of Paris, France, “Fond Régional d’Art Contemporain d’Ile de France” (FRAC), Corporations: Lafuma, Schlumberger and will concurrently be exhibiting a solo project at Ruth Benzacar Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Following Cheung’s solo exhibition at Houldsworth in 2004, he will be exhibiting in the British Art Show 6 and in numerous international projects. Lamb exhibits with Kontainer Gallery, LA and is currently exhibiting with Matt Franks, Ian Dawson and George Doneo in Do Not Ask Me Who I Am, St. Pauls Gallery, London. Lamb is in numerous private collections and has recently become part of the DeutsheBank collection, London.


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Painting Unperfect
Gordon Cheung, Peter Lamb, Justin Mortimer, Alicia Paz