Exhibition

Urge Ourselves Under: Toren Schvantzt, Warren Carvery, Thomas Meissner and Adrian Lee

16 Oct 2009 – 6 Nov 2009

Five Hundred Dollars

London, United Kingdom

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  • Buses: 26,48,55,106,254,388
  • Tube: Bethnal Green

Save Event: Urge Ourselves Under: Toren Schvantzt, Warren Carvery, Thomas Meissner and Adrian Lee

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A virtuosic exposition of both the astonishing plasticity of oil paint. and the artist's thrill at her own facility, Toren Schvantzi's contribution to Urge Ourselves Under tempers her trademark single image fixation with new maturity and control. Notwithstanding this, the piece itself, twenty paired iterations on a death's head, is fatally compromised by the artist's microscoping attention to the underlying cod-existentialist teenage nihilism. A neanderthal growing lightbulbs in a tent. Warren Carvery's collaged industrial aesthetic was initially motivated by his distrust of digital manipulation and its liberating absence of accountability. His cut and shut approach not only simplified his choices, it also provided an exercise in locating a visual gap in the source material, a discovery that freed him from the an obligation to actual representation. The resultant forms are less structures than a reactionary tone-poem of anti-Photoshop. But there is a sort of knowing self-deception in the carefully aligned planes and inserts. And it is arguable that although he suggests the collages as a form of domesticated transcendence, the work itself is more suggestive of a drily calibrated adjustment of design. A startlingly capable and informed painter, Thomas Meissner's handling of the male figure in his large-scale oil canvases could be said to fetishize the breakdown of the academic form, if he weren't so cowed by its attendant history. This is particularly apparent in the paint handling, in which his considerable technical skill functions as craven appeaser. What unites these three artists is their willful subjugation to impulse, even if the resulting work is fragile, self-congratulatory, infantile, or a carefully assessed sop to taste. The exhibition also includes Adrian Lee, whose recent environment Island evokes both the sickly-sweet fug of the tropics and the forgotten corporate corner of a head office feeling the crunch. Dragging centre stage, from the liminal areas of urban existence, that which is often overlooked and ignored. Is this the ghost of Vyner Street future? As the big guns pack their bags and the offices arrive perhaps it is not out of place, just early.

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