OUTPOST, 10B Wensum Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1HR

  • 2012 (2011)
    Title : 2012 (2011)
  • Cover Image
    Title : Cover Image
  • PIG (2012)
    Title : PIG (2012)
  • R.B.K (2012)
    Title : R.B.K (2012)
  • WAFU (2012)
    Title : WAFU (2012)
  • install shot 1
    Title : install shot 1
  • installation3
    Title : installation3

Edward Sanders review by Alan Stanners
How can a new painting position itself in amongst the mountain of pictures that have preceded it’ Could it provide an answer to a question previously left inconclusive, competing for the summit to leave its mark or perhaps it can afford a personal attempt to unpack the complexities of modern life, ruminating on subjective myths in a provisional sense. This is the dichotomy played out in Grobo Mesa, a solo exhibition at OUTPOST gallery by the artist Edward Sanders. The title ‘Grobo Mesa’ is an incongruous juxtaposition. ‘Grobo’, a seemingly nonsensical word in conjunction with the geographical classification. ‘Mesa’ hints at a struggle between colloquial definition and conventional categorisation. The paintings glide between pictorial models, each with its’ own autonomy. Portraiture, geometric abstraction and pattern, pointillist looking magnifications, laconic figuration and colour fields all make a cameo. Despite their apparent disparity there is a homogenising focus on flatness and surface. In ‘2012’ an unsettling portrait confronts the viewer directly. The mouth, nose, ears and hairline are all present rendered with an intense attention to solid form; only the eyes are absent replaced by white uncertain circles. This absence suggests a provocation to the conventions of looking and seeing. Inversely, in ‘RBK - a similar absence is notable, however instead of the erasure of information, Sanders has chosen not to render fully in the first place. A similarly strict ménage of leaves both expose and obscure the white of the canvas and the preliminary lines sketched onto the surface. In contrast to this obfuscation and unveiling, ‘FRESH’ is a robust abstraction of interlocking organic pattern. Its seemingly detached superficiality is denied by its relationship to the more painterly pictures, perhaps posing as a full stop in the syntax of the exhibition. This is the fully realised picture with nowhere else to go, finished and impersonal. ‘WAFU’ continues along the theme of absence and space by literally positing an image of nothing. Warm subtle blues, greens and pinks build up an almost representational space of empty sky working in contrast with the claustrophobic ‘FRESH’. Although devoid of subject, WAFU’s absence feels rich with content within the context of the show. ‘PIG’ displays a similar austerity, however instead of a highly worked surface, it utilises the bare wood of its panel as a ground creating a white block of form with the primer used to prepare it. Only a small twist of the brush indicates the detail of the tail, transforming it into a highly figurative abstract. This seems to discuss immediate creativity at the very foundations of picture making, allowing such simple detail to overwhelm the value of the more complex and resolved images. In relation to the pictures on display, Mesa assumes an allegorical position alluding to the narrative trajectory of painting, perhaps the mountain will not peak, rather level out to a plateau wherein all pictorial models and aesthetics gain an equal bearing, none more valued than the other. The crux of Sander’s proposition appears to be the mechanisation of the painting process and to what extent can completion be realised within a work. If indeed it’s even possible to produce a painting of outstanding singularity what is to be gained from such a resolution’

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