FOLD is pleased to present Fair Game by Kes Richardson, his second solo presentation at the gallery.
In stark contrast to his last exhibition, ‘Garden Paintings’ where Richardson utilised the same grid structure across nine canvases, here the artist casts a much wider net. Dramatic changes in size, material and means of display show a diverse and rich body of work. Canvasses are cut up, reconfigured and collaged; barely marked and heavily worked; hung flat or propped against the wall. Still present is a gravitation towards simplified motifs, forms that hint at the familiar: cartoons, logos, figures and symbols. Literal figuration is poked, toyed with and put further under strain when passages of paint are savagely cropped or abruptly smothered. Richardson enjoys this element of chance and game play as paintings encounter other paintings, often with a different visual key or tone. These forced meetings throw up something unexpected that the eye struggles to make sense of as a coherent whole. Fluid arcs continue but with a change of pace or charge – forms shift in dynamic – spaces open and close. There is a childlike excitement to experiment without inhibition. What happens if this is put with that? How is the language of both worlds broadened?
The paintings nearly always grow from small drawings and collages. These are made on slippery, coated paper that allows marker, watercolour and oil pastel to sit on the surface retaining its vitality and spontaneity. Their creation involves a Lilliputian shift of perspective, akin to playing with action figures as a child or scanning an architect’s model. Imagining a dot enlarged to the size of a torso. Diminutive fragments of paper become swathes of canvas. From this visual stockpile quotes are taken. Samples are scaled up, often larger than human size; modest marks writ large. Creating not only a pictorial reality but also one that is tangible and tactile, into which a mythology can unfold. This process of enlargement mimics the original investigation and the subsequent delight when a final image is settled upon. Pencil becomes marker, marker becomes paint roller. As the support size grows so do the tools of fabrication. Through this paradoxical journey new and unfamiliar destinations are stumbled upon. Like an actor repeating the same play every night, the script remains the same, yet the performance differs as it unravels in real time.
Kes Richardson, b. 1976, Oxford, UK. Lives and works in London. Graduated from Bath Spa University College in 1998. Exhibitions include: ‘Garden Paintings’ (solo), FOLD, London (2013); ‘Radical Me’, Tannery Projects, London (2016); ‘Pool’, Griffin Gallery, London, (2016); Garten a.V., frontviews temporary, Berlin (2015); ‘Demolition Derby’, FOLD, London (2015).