The Days Before

Mike Bartlett
Marcus Cope
Patrick Galway
Cathy Lomax

Exhibition: 7/11/09–29/11/09

Four painters examine the forgotten, the mundane and the everyday.

Mike Bartlett
A continuing layer of the past weeks memories rendered ordered and prioritised as the work evolves. Thoughts about today, yesterday, last week… The Galleries, the visitors, what happened at the Tesco checkout, the mundane event that has resonated and stayed in my consciousness and helped my need to paint and make images, a schema that feeds me and inspires.

Each time I return to my work I try to begin again layering and experiencing.
I feel liberated, I can include what I like, the wrapper, the rapper, the chair, the animal, the journey, the film, the book and myself……

Marcus Cope
I believe it to be a common consensus that all contemporary painting shares as its subject contemporary painting, that is to say that today’s pictures represent a standpoint from artists as to why, how and what of painting in the 21st century.

The paintings in this show offer a diversion from this or perhaps an alternative way in, by presenting images of the everyday, mundane references that may or may not bare any relevance to the viewer.

My paintings feature representations of objects, chairs and tennis balls for the most part, but those objects which may and do bare relevance to me are intended as mere starting points for me to make the picture, and perhaps for the viewer to receive it. I am keen for the pictures to move beyond mere representation, in the way that these objects do. A picture of a chair is a useless chair of course, but a real tennis ball can feed a whole family fun day out. I may have forgotten that day, as I am sure I will forget these paintings, but that is how I like to work.

I make a lot of work in order to try to forget what I have made. I do this because I don’t want to be bound to a particular subject or way of working, so that the rules are always changing and the barriers of what I can do remain in flux. My attempt is to let the picture appear, almost as if I don’t care about the result, so that I can forget it and start all over again tomorrow.

Patrick Galway
My work for this show concentrates on the memories of others, interpreted to create a shared story. The five paintings for The Days Before are attempts at translating a past in order to make something new. The sequence of paintings show happy children looking for brightly coloured rubbish on a beach, a warped white plastic chair, a blue Woman with wet hair, a graphical image located inside the large intestines, and a close-up of a Virgin Mary statue. The translation of memory and its randomness into a pictorial form gives rise to a skewed visual idiom. These images aim to be inclusive, looking for elements of the profound and individualistic in the concept of the everyday.

The perception of social and personal entropy generates psychological disruption and turns the everyday into a frustrating sequence of black letter days. Desperate fools looking for a shaky redemption, garnered from any significant moments, can only conjure up congealed anger at the socially ubiquitous disregard for the present. Despite the collective sense of doubt and all-round unease with modern life, these paintings are still optimistic candidates in the endeavour to find parallels between personally significant conditions and those of others. Some say nature, nostalgia and exercise are good for malady. Let’s all miserably remain hopeful.

Cathy Lomax

Everyday life is boring. This mind numbing drudgery needs to be punctured and deflated. A relief that can be provided by episodes of escapism – events and situations encountered not in actuality but as an observer and then lived out within our heads. The most powerful and easily accessible escapist experience for most people is provided by film – 90 min slices of someone else’s life. I decided to keep a diary that listed all the films that I watched (I had to see the beginning and end for them to register).

This could be seen as one of those hugely un-scientific arbitrary exercises that artists indulge in. But as with any other recording of everyday events the choices that I make in watching one film rather than another says something about me and probably defines me at this moment as much as anything could. I selected one image from each of these films. This provided a further indication of what it was that drew me in and kept me rapt. These images then became small-scale paintings that make up the series Film Diary.