AboutCHARLIE SMITH london is delighted to present Dominic Shepherd with his first one person show at the Old Street gallery.
In Latin Lucifer means âlight bearer', and came to refer to the planet Venus, otherwise known as the âMorning Star', which can be witnessed an hour before sunrise in the skies of the east and an hour after sunset to the west. Lucifer then, signifies first light, the time when the darkness and mystery of night turn towards the clarity of dawn. It is at this point with its shifting nuances where Dominic Shepherd's most recent paintings operate.
Shepherd invites us into a time and place that is in-between, a place of mystery and the imagined. Calling to mind John Fowles' âThe Magus', Shepherd envisions a place populated by magicians, solitary wanderers, messengers, lost poets, artists and musicians, a place that is between reality and sur-reality where the macabre and the frivolous walk hand in hand. This imagined place is prompted by Shepherd's own immediate environment, where cottage and studio sit isolated in a clearing within dense Dorset woods. Stepping into these woods at night one feels simultaneously stimulated and threatened, but one is urged to embrace the shadows and the illusion that lie therein, where the fictive obfuscates truth.
At night, perhaps, such experience is appropriate, during the time of revelry and ritual, magic and intoxication. All take place beneath the cover of darkness. But at the hour of daybreak, as the morning star rises, thresholds other than night to day are broken. Reality returns and with it a wistful awareness of a loss of the other. The dreamlike and hallucinatory are overcome by a confrontation of the self where one can emerge enlightened as with St John of the Cross or fallen as with so many romantic heroes from throughout history. Indeed, Shepherd's canvases might be populated by lost icons and anti-heroes such as Hesse, Redon, Shelley, Blake or Wagner or more contemporaneously Jack Kerouac, Keith Richards or Charles Manson. âThe sleep of reason brings forth monsters', cautioned Goya and Shepherd outlines that escapism, individualism and heroism, and the drives of the intuitive and the unconscious can bring egotism, destruction and excess as well as beauty, magic and discovery, thus simultaneously enticing and forewarning.