15 November - 22 December
Wednesday 14 November, 6-8pm
Mummery + Schnelle is pleased to present an exhibition of new
work by Alexis Harding. In a marked departure from earlier work,
Harding’s new series of paintings has moved beyond the
grid like central motif which served as an armature upon which
to present content and process simultaneously. The new work
is more critically reduced, organic, theatrical, and corporeal:
the wrinkles and sagging patches that form on the canvases explicitly
reference bodies and the processes they undergo with the passage
of time. A series of enlarged lines and marks bring back a new
problematised figure/ground relationship to painting.
By pouring household gloss paint over a base coat of oil paint,
Harding forges new ground in the convergence of these two components.
He is obsessed with as he states “allowing each work to
be given or acquire its own inbuilt logic and life over its
making and drying time in the studio”. No external tools
are used to control the pictorial construction of the painting
other than the paints disruption and collapse itself. Like an
alchemist Harding mixes his volatile materials with less than
total control, prompting and provoking relationships between
instinct and time based process; quick irrational decisions
made with material (Artists oil paint and household Gloss paint)
followed by months of daily observation and correction. The
results yield organic gems which often hint at figuration and
narrative. Harding has written “in the earlier grid paintings
there was a feeling that something was about to go wrong where
in the new work it already has, failure seems to have already
occurred, it being somehow digested and encoded and then used
to make an idea, an image, a painting”.
Another duality and incompatibility vividly present within the
work is the use of colour. In contrast to the natural conditioning
of time, the use of colour is often jarringly artificial. In
a number of new works, a bold household Gloss literally carves
out a central channel or ‘canal’ through the oil
paints monochrome ground, interrupting this field with more
than just its gravitational pull. These new works appear like
plugs, stoppages, canals and vertical antennae within painting.
Harding operates as a kind of post non-representational process
painter, where the paintings themselves declare an indifference
between abstraction and figuration. The work continues to pursue
ideas to do with control, failure and contingency.
After finishing his BA (Hons) Fine Art at Goldsmiths College,
Alexis Harding has been exhibiting widely including solo exhibitions
at Rubicon Gallery, Dublin (2006, 2002, 1999), Marella Arte
contemporanea, Milan (2004) and Andrew Mummery Gallery, London
(2003, 2000, 1999). Group exhibitions in Museums and public
spaces include: Painting in the Noughties, Donnegal, Ireland,
2007: John Moores 23: exhibition of contemporary painting, Walker
Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2004; Shimmering Substance, curated
by Barry Schwabsky, Arnolfini, Bristol and Cornerhouse, Manchaster,
2002. Harding won the John Moores prize for painting in 2004.
Click here to read more
about Alexis Harding's work.
Click here to download a press release in pdf form
Please scroll down for installation views