AboutEscape brings together five artists who expose and explore our desire to escape to a landscape that we have tamed and recreated, both in reality and in representation. They challenge our perceptions and the foundations of landscape as an artistic genre.
James Ireland brings together nature's treasured aesthetic components as minimalist symbols that adorn metallic frames; a forest becomes a branch, a mountain range becomes a crystal. These ingredients for the picture perfect landscape are consciously bolted together, making literal the construction of landscape images. Just as these picturesque representations show us nature though a frame, the metal framework of Ireland's sculpture questions the natural authenticity of all that we see through it.
Alejandro Pintado recreates his own idealised monochrome landscapes as inspired by 18th Century engravings but with conspicuous additions. Specifically seeking to excavate these idyllic, picturesque scenes Pintado exposes their falseness by introducing fluorescent scaffolds and architectural supports. His intrusions suggest that these landscapes always needed a constructed, manmade framework to maintain their illusion.
Like Ireland and Pintado, Gary Colcough's sculpture mounted drawings echo the conscious fabrication of landscape images through the literal construction of manmade frameworks that support his drawings. Colclough manipulates his own landscape images by breaking photographic sources down into their component colours, like separating the pages of a book. Choosing just one of these colours to work from, his monochromatic vignettes hark back to the engravings of the 18th century that first allowed the mass distribution of quaint landscape scenes and helped fuel the desire to escape to a nature edited by man.
Bernadette O'Toole's dramatic oil paintings evoke the familiar patchwork of countryside fields, yet cast in an eerie pallet they seem to stretch unnervingly into eternity as if dreamt. Her visions of an eternally cultivated landscape are made sinister and endlessly inescapable. Applying layer after layer of oil paint and glaze she continually scrapes them back to reveal those hidden below. This physical process echoes the efforts taken to maintain our control over nature both in reality and on canvas.
Matthew Picton's inclusion in Escape challenges the idea that we would want to escape to nature at all. Instead his complex cityscapes suggest that in the 21st century we might prefer to escape to the familiarity of a city, made exotic by its history and culture. Unlike the clinically accurate models of town planners these wall mounted sculptures are contaminated with a humanising context. These model cities are constructed from material such as book covers, religious texts, or printed music referring to their unique cultures and histories. In this urban kind of escape we experience the unfamiliar but not the discomfort of the wild.
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Exhibition runs: Friday 11th November to Friday 16th December / 11am - 6pm (Tue to Fri) / 12 - 5pm (Sat)
Sumarria Lunn Gallery, 36 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 5AB
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James Ireland is a graduate of the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. Solo exhibitions include The Difference Between Truth and Honesty, f a projects, London (2007), You Mistake My Horror For Love, Economist Plaza, London (2007), This Is a Test, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham (2005) and All of the Known Universe, Spike Island, Bristol (2003). Group shows include Memory of a Hope, Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool (2011), Exteriority, Sumarria Lunn, London (2010), Peace and Agricultureâ¦, Haunch of Venison, Berlin (2008), Material Presence, 176, London (2008), Beyond the Country, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2007), Uncanny Nature, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2006), Fabrique du Sublime, La Galerie Centre d'Art Contemporain, Noisy-le-Sec (2005), Scape, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2005) and Into My World: Recent British Sculpture, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut (2004).
Alejandro Pintado is a graduate of Escuela Nacional de Pintura Escultura y Grabado la Esmeralda (Mexico) and Goldsmiths College. Solo exhibitions include Museum MUSAS, Hermosillo, Mexico (forthcoming), Museo San Carlos, Mexico City (forthcoming) and The Planning of Randomness, Post Box Gallery, London (2010). Group shows include Urban Dreams, Room Gallery, London (2011), The Lie of the Land, ASC Gallery, London (2011), Pinta Art Fair (with Post Box Gallery), London (2011), Vistas Desde el Romanticismo, Galerà a Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2010), Landscape Interventions, Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2008), Declaraciones, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2005) and XI Bienal de Fotografà a, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City (2005). In 2007 Pintado was awarded the Pollock Krasner fellowship.
Gary Colclough is a graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Central Saint Martins. Solo exhibitions include Anderswo, Smallspace, Berlin (2011) and Glimpsed, 24Seven, Gooden Gallery, London (2009). Group shows include Encounter, Primo Alonso, London (2011), On Becoming a Gallery, Part Two, Fieldgate Gallery, London (2010), two sides of the same plain, Stour Space, London (2010), Collection no.1, Interior and the Collectors, Resonance, Lyon Biennale, Lyon (2011), Pulp Fictions, Transition Gallery, London (2011), Wolfson Syndrome, The Modern Language Experiment, London (2011), In Arcadia, IMT, London (2011), Tomorrow People, Elevator Gallery, London (2010), Miniscule, Oblong Gallery, London (2010) and Arctic Fox, Vulpes, Vulpes, London (2009).
Bernadette O'Toole is a graduate of Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Solo exhibitions include Revolver, Lost Soul and Stranger Service Station, Liverpool (2010). Group shows include the Creekside Open (curated by Phyllida Barlow), APT Gallery, London (2011), Marmite Painting Prize, The Nunnery, London (2011), London Art Fair (with Bend in the River Gallery), London (2011), Next Up, The Bluecoat, Liverpool (2009), Evidence, Red Box Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne (2005), Corners and Other Spaces, Globe Gallery, North Shields, Tyne and Wear (2004) and VANE, Newcastle upon Tyne (2003).
Matthew Picton is a graduate of the London School of Economics. Solo exhibitions include New Sculptures and Digital Prints, Pulliam Gallery, Portland (2011), In the Case of All Cities, Sumarria Lunn, London (2010), City Planning, Solway Jones Gallery, Los Angeles (2009), Postwar Landscape, An Urban History, Howard House, Seattle (2009), Byron C Cohen Gallery, Kansas City (2007), Toomey Tourell, San Francisco (2007), Damien B Contemporary Art, Miami (2004) and the Center for Contemporary Art, Anchorage (2000). Group shows include Urban Jungle, Lumas Gallery, Stuttgart (2010), The Map as Art, Christopher Henry Gallery, New York (2009), Bakers Dozen, The Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2009), Contested Ground, Museum of Art, Spokane (2008), Miniature Worlds, The Brewery Art Center, Los Angeles (2004), Indoor Outdoor, Limn Gallery, San Francisco (2003) and 5 Abstract Painters, Lindenberg Gallery, New York (1998).