Simon Lee Gallery presents London Paintings, Dexter Dalwood’s first exhibition since joining the gallery, the subject of the city as a setting and subject matter, has recurred throughout Dalwood’s career. Yet, this recent series of works focusing on the capital presents the viewer with an entirely new and unexpected narrative through which to see the seemingly familiar city.
The artist chooses specific London locations and reconstructs them from a ‘collage of memory’, the site’s cultural and political history, and its subjective association, the work is also informed by a consideration of the painted history of the city over many years.
For Dalwood, London is the inspiration and starting point for an exercise in representation – a means to an end and a nominal reference; these are in the end paintings in themselves. The London Paintings signal an exciting shift in artist’s practice and formal approach towards a more fluid, personal and interpretative working method.
These paintings by Dalwood provoke consideration of how history is painted and how it might continue to be painted. Historical references and quotations are increasingly mediated through the painting process, resulting in images of a world that can never be quite settled upon or interpreted from one single viewpoint. The works demand from the viewer a longer and more involved process of looking. The satisfaction of recognition is denied.
Instead a space is created where the painting gains a temporal function; purely through its painted reality, produces a strong sense of time, site, memory and history – the very things that make up a sense of place. The work acquires its meaning through the subjectivity of the viewer and the titles of the work with the juxtaposition of fragmentary paint. Moving with ease between the subjective and the specific to create a rich and individual language, the artist combines elements from painting’s past to produce something new and original in the present: a body of work that continues to re-invigorate and re-invent contemporary history painting.
© 2014 photos courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery all rights reserved