It’s hard to remain in the present moment when looking at the work of Alexander Massouras. I am distracted, thinking more about other disciplines, other points in time. The construction of each work remains visible - marks are made in a particular order, surfaces are abruptly interjected.
In the same way a hoarder may collect more than one object with the same function, Massouras processes an idea through variations. This trope, commonly associated with Pop Art may still have a purpose for contemporary artists - affected by the continuing rise in the mass dissemination of images.
Each series is often exhibited separately, with the exception of his show at SYSON - a decision that invites viewers to cross-examine the works, piecing together overarching concerns in his practice.
Massouras appears to mathematically assemble works from a bank of extracted imagery, digesting this material and crystallising particular relationships. Two works in the ‘Divers’ series are unnaturally static. Oil paint sits on the canvas making it hard to get lost in the surface or believe the male figure will ever reach the pool beneath him. Each element hovers. The subject mater is timeless. Not only are we seeing the mediums of painting and collage wrestle one another - but we could be looking at imagery of the 2012 London Olympics as much as witnessing the reinvention of a Richard Hamilton collage or David Hockey painting.
Signs of movement appear in the series ‘Four Summers’ (2014-15) as a group of bathers, whether scattered or clustered, shift in posture and position. They revisit, or perhaps never leave, the intensely dark blue milieu surrounding them. Metaphorically infinite, boundless, and void-like, the group are removed from what could be imagined as a more complex reality that normally envelops them.
The series format particularly compliments ‘The Pit Paintings’ (2015), allowing for an unfolding narrative to develop. Various obtuse angles of the same event are presented - compositions that suggest the works derive from journalistic photography - observing what could be The Battle of Orgreave during The Miner Strikes of 1984-5. The work is subtly provocative in this Nottingham-based show. The box frames surrounding the paintings act like vitrines, shielding and encasing the complicated position taken by local miners, who resisted these strikes. 
Throughout the exhibition, the conceptual potential of light and dark is examined. ‘Kersting’s Acropolis’ (2015) is painted in a style reminiscent of a Cezanne, with an earlier Impressionist concern for light and slight Fauvist exaggeration of colour. The work may reference architectural photographer A.F Kersting, who “attached enormous importance to lighting”  and whose interest in photography was based on the inheritance of a set of glass negatives.  Massouras dissects the surface of this work much like an archeologist or photographer hones in on the landscape, stripping back a rectangular section of the paint to leave a glass-like, ghostly image. In another instance, sections of crosshatch in ’Excavation Study’s’ (2015) are removed with an eraser. Rubber filaments are then re-displayed like particles of crumbling stone from the scenes depicted in the drawings.
The exhibition title, taken from Ecclesiastes 1:9 , suggests the works are heterochronic - they exist as an amalgamation of a particular set of circumstances the artist finds himself working within. They encompass the self-reflections of a 21st century painter, witnessing developments in artistic style, changes in the making and sharing of images, shifting social behaviours and political landscapes.
 ‘The Great Miners Strike 1984-5: Twelve Months that Shook Britain: the Story of the Strike’, Workers Liberty (online), 2008. Available at:
 The Telegraph Obituaries (online), 2008. Available at:
which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.