MTArt Agency is delighted to present the first solo exhibition by British artist Will Thomson. In the past few years Thomson has exhibited in multiple group shows in London, showing his work at both the ICA and Royal Academy of Art, as well as internationally in the group show ‘HYPERION’ in New York.
‘WASN’T IT UNCANNY’, set in UNIT3 of Old Street’s underground station, uses the notion of subtle change to dictate its structure. Each day, a different selection of artworks will be on display over the weeklong exhibition. Thomson anticipates that commuters who pass through the station will notice the shifting permutations of the exhibition, and be left wondering what has changed from day to day.
Think back to childhood. When a car swang past the house and, for one brief moment, the room was coated in lurid light - pot plant, bed, the blind streaked across the wall - before darkness slid in again to take its place. It is this moment, when the homely becomes monstrous, that Will Thomson captures in his work. Whether in his large-scale paintings or in his installations, Thomson’s work deals with memory and its fallibility.
Playing with the photographic source material, which often provides the inspiration for each painting, Thomson simplifies his interiors to blocks of pure colour or raw canvas, punctuated only by the odd item of furniture or door left ajar. In this way, he questions the objectivity of the photograph as a ‘truth telling’ device, using sparse detail to evoke emotions rather than facts. Beds, plants and windows are rendered in textures of black - flocked, scumbled, impasto - and unfinished canvas. This urge to both reveal and conceal is not unlike memory itself, which is often shaped by the desire to either remember or forget.
These works were born out of a time when Thomson was forced to move back to his childhood home. Crippling rent meant an independent creative life in London was unattainable and reserved for the rich. He found himself in a suspended state, where a house that was once so familiar had became a source of frustration, with a feeling that he no longer belonged there. Moving around the house, memories of his childhood would come to him, most often at night. These jolts of recognition often related to instances when his younger self was most ill at ease: started by an errant shadow, or a unexplained creak. Inspired by this, his recent work draws on the Freudian concept of the uncanny, where normal, everyday objects are seen in a different light and become unfamiliar and strange. Golly Gosh, an installation conceived as an olfactory ode to his Grandma, aims to jolt viewers straight into her living room in Swindon. The combined smell of Chanel No. 5, Gordon’s Gin and a half-smoked fag causes sudden, involuntary memory taking the viewer on an unnerving trip against their will. It is this notion of subtle, uncomfortable change that inspired the revolving form of the exhibition itself. The grind of the daily commute, made uncanny.
The work in this exhibition was born out of an intensely personal experience for Thomson, but plays with universal emotions. Memories, real or imagined, subtly manipulated, enticing viewers to question their recollections: “Was that there yesterday?
DRINKS RECEPTION TUESDAY 13TH 6:30pm