These new paintings reach beyond the specific narrative of the photographic image. Originating in Alain Guiraudie’s 2013 film L’Inconnu du lac, as well as in found images of cruising sites, they explore themes of loneliness and casual rejection; of hope and waiting; of sudden and unexpected acts of kindness and queer companionship; of the collision of desire and danger; and of the role of their landscapes, which appear to both witness and reflect and ultimately absorb the events they contain.
Engaging in part in a conversation with the history of narrative painting and scenes of Arcady and myth, reset in a contemporary context, their pictorial spaces work as theatrical stages. The landscapes are arenas into which the protagonists enter and play out different dramas of desire, waiting, rejection, encounter, sex and vanishing. Behind them is an ever-present echo of Titian’s two Diana Acteon paintings. Acteon the hunter pulls back the curtain, making us the viewers complicit in his own voyeurism. In his death, the landscape is witness to a small event unseen by human eye, and when the action has passed, will return again to its mute emptiness on a blustery autumn afternoon.
Gavin Maughfling’s recent exhibitions include Beep Painting Biennial, Elysium Gallery 2020, between parts undone, studio1.1 Gallery London, 2020; Creekside Open 2019, APT London; Artworks 2019, Barbican Art Trust; Did You See Me Coming?, no format Gallery 2019; Beyond the Binaries, House of St. Barnabas, London 2018, Ghost on the Wire 2, Objectifs, Singapore 2016 and Over Time at the University of Greenwich and National Maritime Museum 2014. With Suzanne de Emmony, he has co-curated major international exhibitions in the UK and Singapore. He is currently working with Steph Goodger on Pull Back The Curtain, a project that explores unseen but sensed traces of events, with a forthcoming exhibition at Rosalux Galley, Berlin.