'NOW IS ALL THERE IS'
John McCarthy was born in Essex in 1960. He studied at St Martin's School of Art, London from 1996-97. He was selected for the BP Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, London for which he won the Visitor's Choice Award in 1999. This led to successful solo and group shows in London in 2000 and 2001, followed by a group show in Los Angeles in 2003.
The ideology behind this most recent exhibition of paintings focuses on the repetitive nature of art history. Fashion photographers often incorporate certain art historical references in their pictures ' for example, dramatic lighting reminiscent of a Caravaggio or Vermeer painting, or the way in which the body is represented in a sexual way similar to a sculpture by Michelangelo or Bernini.
McCarthy manipulates images of popular magazine advertisements and glamorous celebrities. The paper is literally screwed up, rephotographed and then copied much larger onto canvas. The original picture is thus reinterpreted, given a new urgency and gains fresh connotations associated with the fragility of paper and human existence.
CATHERINE GRAN was born in 1966. She began her academic studies with courses in History of Art at the Sorbonne University, Paris. She then went on to the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, from where she graduated in 1992. Her paintings are enigmatic, conveying an atmosphere of strangeness and eccentricity through unexpected perspectives and unusual objects combined with the commonplace and the fantastic. She continues to explore her favourite enigmatic themes of the bizarre and the surreal represented by the incongruous relationship between objects, form and figures. Yet at the same time she paints in a scrupulously detailed manner to give a hallucinatory sense of reality. Her work borders on the surreal and is often concerned with organic and sensual form and also, on occasion symbolist, characterised by visual expression of emotional experience. The elegant figures, smartly dressed almost theatrical in demeanour, retain their nobility and quirky expressions. They are the cognoscenti basking in their appreciation and love of life and the arts. Gran's paintings, with their unusual perspectives and ambiguous combinations of shapes, objects, and figures are depicted in a singular painterly style, reinforcing her ability to create disorientating realist imagery which is thought provoking and compelling.