When Life Gives You Lemons, Suplex Those Lemons: New Work by Gordon Dalton

24 Apr 2009 – 30 May 2009

Keith Talent Gallery

London, United Kingdom


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Gordon Dalton is equally fascinated and disappointed with our surrounding culture. This shifts uncomfortably between attempts at greatness and contentment with a more sedate way of life, laced with acerbic slapstick humour. Dalton's work utilises this acute identity crisis, playing in the gaps between our aspirations and circumstances, the everyday and the mythic, and between success and failure. Using an often-predetermined set of guidelines, restrictions and intuitive improvisation, the work is both formal and frustratingly incoherent. Dalton plays with our highly developed understanding of popular culture, creating a series of real and fictional networks of relationships between diverse objects, references and situations. However, this is not a puzzle to be solved or unlocked. Dalton's aesthetic and conceptual hall of mirrors bounces the spectator between extremes of naivety, mean-spirited sophistication, calculated ugliness, the sublime and the ridiculous. When Life Gives You Lemons, Suplex Those Lemons uses wrestling terminology to quash life's melancholic bitterness. Paintings from 2004, when the art world was booming, take a slapstick sideswipe at art critics and look even more adolescent and pathetic in retrospect. These are shown alongside one of Dalton's off-kilter constructions, with a shark costume cartoonishly devouring somebody, perhaps the artist himself. Whilst full of possibilities and hope, there is a refusal here to meet expectations or any notion of clarity. Dalton deliberately underlines that the only guarantee on offer is doubt and disappointment. Unapologetically nostalgic and sentimental, Dalton embraces his position as an artist with embarrassment. His work manages to combine humour with a dour melancholic edge, and understands that this is as good as it gets. Dalton's work wants everything to be alright, but that is clearly not the case.

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