The painters in Mechanical Abstract utilise mechanical means to control the chaotic and irregular flow emanating from a brush or can by shielding off areas, or the line of a pencil is guided by a straight-edge. In this way all the work emphasises the physical process of applying a medium to a support. The temporal aspect of the act of creation is therefore the primary subject matter of these works. The medium is celebrated, but this is done in a restrained, measured, and determined way. There is, overall, an abstinence from the grand gestures associated with abstraction.
Lothar Götz is well-known for his public art commissions – geometric wall paintings that are prompted by the architecture in which they are executed – as well as his studio-based practice of abstract pencil drawings, paintings and prints. Whether it's on wall, canvas, painted board or a variety of other substrates, his arrangements of shapes and lines of colour are created by use of masking tape or a straight edge. Any unevenness of hand pressure, or punctuation of surface bumps, or architectural quirks, are revealed in Götz's otherwise painstakingly considered constructions. The endeavour here is to coax resistant materials or settings into the service of presenting effervescent colour.
Since the mid-1990s Jonathan Parsons has produced grid paintings that comprise striped bands of colour that run vertically and horizontally across a canvas in a precise grid format. Whilst the geometry appears to consist of straight-edged bands of colour seemingly against a white background – clearly referring to totemic instances of high modernism, such as Mondrian – the brushstrokes are liquid, broad and tactile, executed in a single pass. In isolation, the coloured brushstroke-bands can be viewed in a non-illusory sense as containers of liquid paint and the indexical record of the movement of a brush over a surface of primed linen.
Dispensing with the traditional media of the painter, DJ Simpson turns to materials more frequently associated with industry, such as power tools, aluminium and birch ply sheets and mass production painting methods. For Mechanical Abstract, Simpson will present an example of his series of paintings on three-metre-high crumpled aluminium sheets. There is an impression of disorder that is at odds with the sleek factory-made paint finish – the sheets are coloured using a electrostatic powder coating – that is undamaged, evidently as it is applied after the deforming of the metal.
Neil Zakiewicz's paintings could be described as self-contained painting kits, with no instructions necessary. Cut panels are hinged together, so that one panel can fold onto another to be used as a spray-paint stencil. The spraying technique is evenly mechanical, which evidences the irregularity of the panels and hinges. They are pared down – functional even – and yet the results are not predictable or simple in any way. Ghostly geometric impressions are elemental and iconic, reminiscent of Malevich at his most experimental.
Address: Turps Banana, 12a -13a Taplow, Thurlow Street, London, SE17 2UQ,
(corner of East Street and Thurlow Street - walk up the ramp; 1st floor)
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