AboutTricia Gillman's long over due retrospective opens at A.P.T. Gallery, Creekside, London, on 22nd September 2011, to coincide with the Deptford X contemporary arts festival. The show is a journey through the artist's career, with each work evoking the process of journeying in itself. A sense of overlapping temporalities pervades the show: the Present is forcefully wrought through the immediacy of the painterly surfaces, but is nonetheless haunted by a sense of the Past. Further, Stepping Stones takes the viewer on a linguistic journey through an evolving landscape of visual language that is persistently constructed and deconstructed by the artist.
In Gillman's earliest engagements with the possibilities of abstract painting, colour and gesture are the chief codes of expressivity. In ambitious early works such as Carmabola and Como, explosive colour forms vibrate together in what Sarah Kent described as a âdense jungle of pure sensation'. In later works the tropical colour and physical exuberance becomes tempered in Gillman's darker âMiddle Ground' series and almost monochromatic polarities of the âDark Light' series.
In Gillman's latest works a new quality of surface and light emerges, whilst ascribing organisation and fracture greater authority. Here the artist uses personal and appropriated imagery more explicitly. Her visual sources act as tools of recognition, unlocking memory and mirroring ones internal preoccupations. However, in the complex richness of the handling through overlay and underlay, shifting spatial ground and atmospheric texture the original meaning of the imagery is fragmented and obscured, a process Gillman describes as the âbuilding and dissolving' of language.
Gillman has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for the last twenty-five years. She first garnered the art world's attention in the 1982 Summer Show at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Subsequently she has had solo exhibitions at the Arnolfini, Bristol, Laing Gallery, Newcastle, McManus, Dundee, and the Storey Gallery, Lancaster as well as repeated shows at Benjamin Rhodes and Jill George, London. She has been selected four times for the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool, and Jerwood Drawing Prize, as well as representing Britain for the Contemporary Art Societyin Austria, South Africa, Eastern Europe and East Asia. Gillman's work is held in public and private collections worldwide.