CHARLOTTE BRISLAND: East/West (Verfremdungseffekt)

13 Oct 2007 – 24 Nov 2007

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THURS, FRI, SAT: 10am - 6pm

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Northampton, United Kingdom


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  • Northampton
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It's reasonably well-known that the great Spanish surrealist film-maker, Luis Bunuel, used to start his working day with a specially concocted Dry Martini instead of an old fashioned cup of coffee. Bunuel's recipe for a dry martini was a particular and meticulous process and included one or two drops of the mildly hallucinogenic Venezuelan drink, Angostura Bitters.

Bunuel disliked non-diegetic music and often shot scenes with long takes to minimise time spent in the editing room and this approach lent a hazy, relaxed sense of perverse sobriety ' a gentle, rolling sense of natural, growing anxiety.

Charlotte Brisland's paintings, most of which have never been seen before, feel like frames dipped and lifted out of Bunuel's films; fathomable but ultimately un-containable, recognisable yet foreign, welcoming yet ominous.

After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2004, Brisland spent much of her time in Japan before moving to Berlin where she currently lives and works and has recently been investigating the mental and physical shifts inherent in the unification of Germany, and the knock-on effects of the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Buildings are cut and pasted onto landscapes borrowed from memory and from her immediate surroundings. None of the places Brisland depicts actually exist in reality but are forged in her mind, glued together and transposed onto the canvas quickly and confidently. Her technique reflects the constant flux of dichotomy inherent in her imagery; swathes of flat areas of colour that at times resemble Diebenkorn's work, blend with visceral smears across the canvas. Houses look stark and alien, yet warm and inviting, the sky filled with dread and anger and the whimsical dreams of the Romantics.

Brisland has cited the influence of David Lynch in her work and there is a palpable sense in these paintings that things at first look reasoned and satisfactory, but gradually, almost imperceptibly, the mood of drugged menace works its way under your skin. 'Lynch films have become a particular influence on me most recently. His use of cinematography, light and narrative that falls short of the logical, playing instead on the subconscious psychological fear, surreal dramas that take place out of reality in the waking world.'

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