26 April - 17 May 2003

<b>Charles Damby</b>
Charles Damby

g39 has opened up its doors to welcome nine emerging UK artists whose works collectively present a dubious and courageous attempt to deal with the ‘Big’ themes. Seemingly gentle figurative and narrative paintings rub strangely up against ‘no-fi’ sculptures and object-based work in an intriguing and often sinister mix of nostalgia and darkness, innocence and loss.

Gordon Dalton’s work embraces failure and embarrassment with open arms. His rather pathetic looking constructions have a humorous and melancholy edge, containing faint ideas of hopes, dreams and aspirations. Dalton wants everything to be alright, but that is quite clearly not the case.

Paul Becker explores themes of sexuality and violence. He uses the interaction of humans and animals as a device to confound these themes, rendering them malevolent and tender, even innocent. This is also the effect of Nadia Hebson’s sentient landscapes, which relate to grotesquery, ‘prettiness’ and a sense of overwrought, overwhelming emotion. Sentimentality is her antidote to mortality.

…sympathy provides refuge for those who have grown up unable to shake off their incurable model kit-building obsession. Neil Jeffries’ work represents fragmentary scenes of anti-heroic human behaviour. His ad hoc constructions of metal sheeting, nuts, bolts and washers are the stuff of Meccano kits from a childhood era. Similarly, Elliot Dodd’s sculptures employ this homemade aesthetic to create functionless yet immaculately half-arsed models. Charles Danby’s work also uses simple everyday materials. He deals with the evaluation of spatial relationships between objects through the mixed fortune of Glam, un-glossed pop and an unsympathetic Povera. Jack Duplock establishes an unholy alliance between tenderness and horror. This slasher movie sublime is in turn repellent and attractive.

The exhibition’s tendency for nostalgia also has a more benign side. Sophie Buxton’s works use drawing to interpret and place events around her. Her drawings of mountains attempt to relocate something far away and seemingly unattainable. The process of relocation to the paper is immediate, almost like touching the mountain on the paper. Annabel Dover’s paintings are of things that have gone. She makes one painting a day, attempting to capture traces that are constantly disappearing. The paintings are presented as if in an inventory or museum of different artefacts from different situations grouped together, perhaps a person’s memories captured in an attempt to document them.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing, the exhibition ranges from the darkly comic to the embarrassingly melancholic. The exhibition will tour to Keith Talent Gallery, London later in 2003 and other venues in the UK and Europe subsequently.

  • <b>Charles Damby</b>
  • <b>Neil Jeffries</b>
  • <b>Sophie Buxton</b>