Alastair Gordon - What You Will 

25. Apr - 24. May 14 / ended Bearspace


Open Wednesday - Saturday 10-6pm

Exhibition | Painting | London

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Alastair John Gordon’s recent work strongly references a tradition of illusionistic painting that proliferated in Northern Europe from about 1600. A specific form of illusionism called quodlibet(what you will). From here he paints an array of selected objects that on first glance appear to be ‘pinned’ or ‘taped’ in low relief. Certain questions emerge about the craft of the artist, representation and the artist’s materials.

At first these are paintings about paintings; images that oscillate between artefact and artifice. American poet and literary critic, Susan Stewart argues: “We need and desire souvenirs of events that are reportable, events whose materiality has escaped us, events that only exist through the invention of narrative.” [1] To Gordon, even the process of painting is a reportable event. Materials involved in the making of a painting that otherwise would be disgarded are here celebrated.

The paintings are presented as a partial or incomplete inventory of the artists studio and materials leftover at the end or very beginning of the painting process. On closer inspection they reveal themselves to be a meticulous illusion, a trompe l’oeil deception rendered in oil paint on wood. The notion of authenticity is central to Gordon’s artistic enquiry. He finds himself looking for evidence of ‘the real thing’; for the craftsman’s hand on wooden drawing boards or the singular mark of an unknown author on a blank piece of paper, as Jean Baudrillard wrote in The System of Objects: “We are fascinated by what has been created…because the momentof creation cannot be reproduced.”[2]

Alastair John Gordonis artist-in-residence for Departure Arts Centre in East London. Recent solo shows include Husk Gallery, East London (2013) and Carmelite Cafe at theNunnery Galleryin Bow, London (2013). In the last month Alastair has been selected for several national art prizes and group exhibitions including Oriel Davies Openin Powys, The Open West 2014at The Wilson in Cheltenham, Shoosmiths Art Prizein Milton Keynes. He is also currently exhibiting at Dovecot Galleries in Edinburgh as part of the Leith School of Art 25th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition.

Works feature in several international collections including Landmark plc (London), the Ahmanson Collection (Los Angeles), Royal Bank of Scotland Collection and Glasgow School of Art Alumni Collection.

MA Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Arts, 2012. BA Fine Art, Painting from Glasgow School of Art 2002.

[1] Susan Stewart: ‘On Longing, Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection’, Duke University Press 1993 p133

[2] Jean Baudrillard: ‘The System of Objects’, reprinted Verso 1997 p76 .

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