Fairtrade and Flatlands - Catherine Cleary and Adam Kelly
Catherine Cleary and Adam Kelly make very different work that arises from a surprising confluence of process and influences. Two contrasting painters are juxtaposed in an exhibition that explores and celebrates the manifestation of image and icon through the process of painting.
Catherine Cleary takes her referents where she finds them. The Ancient Egyptian lands of the dead conflate themselves with the Fens. Giant dogs form themselves from fists to do battle with popular culture and folk memories, while birdmen shelter in the bullrushes and sniggering pantomime devils shower temptations on distant armies. ?
A blue boat drifts through remembered scenes from a lifetime of images and film.
In rendering these things Cleary?s paint is smeared and swiped across a coloured ground seeking an alchemy that plays with narrative, figuration and abstraction.
Adam Kelly asks, ?Are those bananas Fairtrade?? a question that seems to crop up in almost every supermarket and farmer's market. Enthused to explore the potential of national identity, Kelly's work develops notions of history and ideologies. His characteristically Eurocentric compositions are conducted with an autonomous determination, linking his oeuvre to the ideals and disillusions of modernism. His exorcising approach to painting reveals his successes and failures to represent nostalgic and historical memories, constructing new situations to comment on the theme of nationalism. But it is not all serious ? Kelly's paintings use humour to highlight the issues of shifting culture to paint a caricature of our own politics.
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