Memories of the Hunt: Paintings and Prints is a new exhibitions of work by recent CCW PhD graduate Dr Jim Threapleton.
The exhibition explores how paint moves — both in terms of plastic immediacy and subjective potential. Unreliable artefacts of a search for the tipping point where figuration collapses into gesture, the work negotiates the porous boundary between familiarity and estrangement. At such a threshold, resemblance becomes a possibility, but one that ultimately refuses to be realized. The point of abandonment in the painting process exhibits an ambivalence that leaves the spectator with work to do. From a distance the contrast of form against darkness might imply kinship with seventeenth century vanitas painting, but closer inspection reveals the nothing of gesture in place of object.
The spatial values borrowed from visual experience turn on the respiratory rhythms of form and formlessness that emanate from the inconclusive or unresolved nature of gesture — from the throw of a dice. The monoprint is just such a material gamble. The arbitrary and brute force of the press degrades intention, reducing it to a stain of an experience now absent — the ghost of a painting recorded unfaithfully on paper. The painterly phrase that once suggested limitlessness becomes, instead, a statement on the limit of language — on the impossibility of expression.
A number of the paintings come under the title Symptom — as such they are a felt experience. The disrupted, glitching quality of form is symptomatic of a painting process described in terms of sabotage and subtraction. Such reductive methods might be considered sculptural. Painting is distilled to a kind of binary language. Zero or one. Paint or no paint. Mark or non-mark. Depth or flatness. A stark economy actually derived from hours of manipulation, from the push and pull of control and accident, addition and subtraction — from the painfully slow process of painting fastness.
These works, showing at Serena Morton from 10 September to 2 October 2015, mark the culmination of the Jim Threapleton’s Fine Art doctoral research at CCW.
Top image: Symptom XIV, 2015 (Oil on Aluminium, 30 x 30 cm), Jim Threapleton