Stark is known for his highly laboured oil paintings which for the past decade have served as conduits to explore a universe of interconnected ideas. Past exhibitions have investigated themes including witchcraft, warfare, alchemy, apiculture, shamanism and imperialism. Stark's paintings could be viewed as a kind of ideological battleground where binary oppositions such as light and dark; animus and anima; cruelty and desire; control and abandonment; violence and transformation vie for territorial gain over the other. At the heart of his latest enquiry are the notions of value; the transference of energy; and a calling into question of the structures in society where exchange takes place.
The title of this exhibition alludes to Stark’s current analysis. DoL – The Division of Labour – refers to the socio-economic model whereby manufacture is broken down into component parts in order to increase productivity. Po – a term coined by Edward de Bono as part of his lateral thinking techniques, to encourage the progression of ideas towards solutions. Therefore, in contrast to tendencies in the digital age, we are encouraged to move from the abbreviated to the expansive. Stark asks us to look further, beyond the image and the instantaneous.
In this exhibition we are presented with paintings of veiled beekeepers, pig farms, military drones, robotics and scenes of nuclear contamination. Elsewhere a prehistoric femur bone propped in a trompe l'oeil niche signifies a worker’s hammer. In the two faced ‘Medium of Exchange’ an untenanted glove conceals and reveals a coin, simultaneously referring to the phases of the moon.
The event will take place at CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, 336 Old Street, Shoreditch, London EC1V 9DR. Open from 11am-6pm Wednesday to Saturday. Please contact the gallery for further information on 020 7739 4055. Follow the gallery on @CHARLIESMITHldn.
Category: Arts | Visual Arts | Galleries / Art.
Artist / Speaker: John Stark.