Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Fantastic Salad in pictures

The current show, entitled Fantastic Salad, at DownStairs Gallery is by painter Tom Howse.  I went to see it yesterday and have to say I loved it! Here are some pic's from the gallery and the blurb.

 Tom Howse’s paintings, often anchored around a single image, solitary entities which the viewer is forced to confront. Drawing from a scattered range of sources, each painting plays a role or sets a scene within a larger narrative, allowing the viewer to establish their own construction of an overall puzzle. Although each painting holds its image there can also be seen a wider mythology unravelling when viewing the works as a series.
With his vibrant painterly language, Howse expresses a celebratory approach to painting, a vivid and confident vocabulary, incorporating the idiosyncrasies of mistakes and accidents. There is a definite humour and joviality within his works which allures and invites the audience, but sometimes perhaps disconcertingly so. Perhaps like some deceptive fairy-tale villain Howse is leading us, not down the yellow brick road, but perhaps into a haunted forest where we may glimpse the darker underbelly of a more sinister intrigue?
Howse explains that through his practice he is attempting to work through his own thoughts and investigations on the world. “We have a vast selection of theories and models to lend understanding to our lives such as sciences and religions. But essentially each of these versions on explaining our existence is just one angle. There is no reason why we can not manufacture our own theories”. Creating paradigms which are far more personal and therefore meaningful to the individual because they have been formulated as a unique system. Howse refers to his practice as his own form of ritualistic investigation, the act of painting being his source of creation; devising understanding and creating artefacts of a make believe order of magical logic.

His smaller work was especially appealing - and some costing for as little as £250.

Also up in one of DownStairs' galleries are some pieces made on site during a January month long residency by Chris Barnes.  This piece of a larger tree was found in the gallery grounds' pond.

This is what Chris has to say:
To start, you have a something- a particular kind of thing. A thing you have found and put in your pocket when walking to the shop. Not a valuable or useful object like a fiver, mobile phone or set of keys, but more of a non descript but simultaneously noteworthy type of thing. Something that caught your eye or arrived in your path, provoked an examination; a gentle kick with the edge of your shoe.
This thing in your pocket is of the particular sort and the kind of thing you often find yourself stopping to inspect. It is one of those things that seems to exhibit itself in that certain sort of way. It is not especially out of place or necessarily unalike the other things around it. It is just a particular type of thing, the kind of thing you have developed a habit, an interest, a ritual for putting in your pocket.

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