Abrasive Action presents Still Life on Shelf Unpainted (2012) as well as Abrasive (2014) and “Un-Paintings” by Tony Charles whose current practice incorporates both sculpture and installation. The installation Still Life on Shelf Unpainted comprises numerous steel objects that sit atop a shelf, a serial repetition of empty gas containers whose surfaces have been stripped of colour through Charles’ use of a grinder to create marks whose painterly textures recall the subtle tones in the works of the early 20th century Italian painter Giorgio Morandi.
Charles’ recent work examines the relationship between sculpture and an object’s representation in two dimensions, such as the Still Life genre. In Still Life on Shelf Unpainted Charles’ removal of each object’s identity reveals an impetus to elevate the status of inanimate commonplace objects, as is the case in the Still Life genre. As such, Still Life on Shelf Unpainted is an installation whose component parts can be seen as both objects and paintings; objects in the sense that they project their own “objecthood” in literal not pictorial space, and paintings in that the act of paint removal reveals gestural marks akin to brushstrokes.
The current series of “Un-Paintings” are works on aluminium whose latent imagery is no longer observable. In “Un-Paintings” Charles employs the same labour intensive, repetitive process to remove paint in order to create works that subvert the pictorial convention of spatial illusionism as each works’ previous composition is obscured, unknown, its abstract marks the result of Charles’ erasure of an image to reveal a reflective surface which acts as a mirror to real space. As such, real space supplants pictorial space and circumvents the “illusionistic” space of the canvas.
Tony Charles (MA Fine Art, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, 2001) lives and works in Middlesbrough. Recent exhibitions include Keeping in Touch (2013), Artrom Network, Rome, Italy; The Tip of the Iceberg (2013), The Contemporary Art Society, London; North South Divine (2013), WW Gallery, London and Platform A, Middlesbrough; and L'Espressivita della Aluminio (2013), Spazio Comel per L'Arte Contemporanea, Latina, Italy. His works are in both private and public collections such as the MIMA Collection. In 2013 Charles won the Premio Comel Award in Rome. He is represented by Platform A, Middlesbrough.
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