Mythomania & Mythomania: Supplements Temporaire: co-curated by Moyra Derby and Katherine McKee
Amikam Toren Ian Kiaer Jane Harris John Wilkins Katherine McKee Louise Hopkins Mick Finch Moyra Derby
MYTHOMANIA brings together 8 artists who engage with painting and its conventions. It considers an ongoing ambivalence or double bind within painting practice, in which a long held association with ideas of truth or veracity coexists with accusations and expectations of illusion, fabrication and manipulation.
The term mytho mania‚ refers to lying that is taken to an abnormal and extravagant degree; lying that is emphatic in its delusions. The intricacies and contrived logic that it implies are proposed in the exhibition as a model for an approach to painting, that is conspicuously aware of rules and procedures both historically inherited and self inflicted.
The Metropole Galleries Folkestone Saturday 09 April - Sunday 22 May 2004
Taking its title from the Russian avant-garde poet Majakowski, Amikam Toren's series Clouds in Trousers‚ makes paintings out of boiler suits or overalls. This is the practical clothing of the work place or the studio, and here a section of the material is stretched around a wooden frame, leaving the arms and legs dangling loosely. Then hung on a hook, the paint splattered overalls awkwardly carry the taut rectangle of a painting.
Art history and ideology cling tightly to groups of unlikely objects in Ian Kiaer's work. Furniture, found objects, fragmentary paintings and architectural models are mustered with the conviction that narrative or meaning is possible through re-enactment and depiction however prosaic the parts. Often referring to epic landscapes or idealistic endeavours, the weight of reference can be dizzying.
Jane Harris inscribes a voluted edge, offering an illusion but also something physical - a mark pushed into paint. Following a formal logic, the cartouche like structures in her paintings declare themselves as repeatable, and often they are paired or mirrored within one composition. However appearances can be deceptive, and a perceptual slippage occurs between the description and the material, between the clear-cut and the illusive.
For nearly 20 years, John Wilkins has paired down his painting language to a shadow and highlight carried on a blob-like outline. Often described as cartoon sausages, these shapes can be configured and repeated endlessly. Whether mutating towards narrative picture making or masquerading as austere abstractions, these few elements have enabled the conviction that any possible painting can be constructed within the rationale of this system.
Katherine McKee's paintings are evidence of the action of painting a line. A brush loaded with colour is drawn along the canvas. The line wavers occasionally, the paint puddles or thickens slightly at intervals, marking the length of a stroke or a pause in the activity, maybe to reload or change position. Then a new line is started until the vertical logic of stripes is complete. Yet in completion, the perceived procedural strictness of these paintings is knocked off kilter by a sort of wonkiness, and a raucous use of colour chicaning sideways.
In a commitment to redoing, Louise Hopkins often paints or draws over the top of something that is already there; shadows from folds, lines on graph paper are traced or re-emphasised by hand, words from newspapers are systematically painted out. Whether reiterating or erasing, this is a laborious process diligently carried out, a seemingly unnecessary task delivered with conviction.
Mick Finch scours the internet for pictures; dinosaurs, skulls, the Queen’s head, battle ships. As visual indicators of death, redundancy, or extinction, these web grabs get imbedded into a complex paint layering and masking process. Re-projected, repositioned and re painted, both identification & interference occurs through striated drips that course the surface like a scanner.
Isometric descriptions, modular divisions of space, simplified outlines of landscapes, diagrammatic figures and marks might have at their root the intention of clarity, but in the end contradictory methods of depiction undermine lucid reading in Moyra Derby’s paintings. In overlay, an on / off negotiation with the information ensues.