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‘Six degrees of separation…’

Exhibition Date: Wednesday 25/02/04 – 20/03/04

Opening Preview (Serving Mixed Cocktails): Tuesday 24/02/04 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Contact: Zavier Ellis / Aniko Pall


Clapham Art Gallery is delighted to present Tom Hackney, Kathryn Lang and Dan McDermott, exhibiting together for the first time in ‘Six degrees of separation...’

This exhibition consists of a selection of three technically superlative painters who derive their images from film or photography. Each artist pursues their work via a series of processional generations before finally rendering in paint on canvas or aluminium.

Tom Hackney, winner of the 2003 BOC Emerging Artist Award, is known for his flawless photo-realism. This most recent series of landscape paintings are derived from locations used in Hollywood movies. Hackney identifies specific locations and then visits the actual site in order to photograph and document. He then uses this source material to render his paintings, which are finally mounted and framed behind glass. There are therefore many layers of appropriation and interpretation as Hackney’s work evolves from its nascent state. We experience a vying between the mediums of painting and photography as well as film, and we might find Hackney’s works as slightly dislocating. Certain images can be familiar without immediate recognition, depending on one’s personal experience and familiarity with either common culture or indeed actual geography. Ultimately, however, Hackney’s work does not depend solely on its original source, but relies on it to present a series of filters that create varying levels of ambiguity.

Kathryn Lang creates immaculate oil painted surfaces on aluminium. Her work is process based, despite its clearly figurative, albeit distorted appearance. Lang’s current work explores iconic filmic imagery such as Liza Minelli in ‘Cabaret’, representing a move away from her previously more obscure sources. Stills are taken from the original film and worked on digitally before being rendered obsessively. Lang abstracts her original image by breaking it down into specific linear bands, recalling electronic advertising hoardings or mid-career Bridget Riley’s. These tight, hard-edged contours might be divided vertically or horizontally and are employed to shift and divide an otherwise identifiable representation. A highly complex method of design is applied to the source material, thus creating an ambiguous marriage of abstract distortion and figurative representation that subverts an otherwise sensual rendition.

Dan McDermott is enjoying his fourth year of a highly successful relationship with Clapham Art Gallery. McDermott has become well known for his vibrant renditions of American vehicles appropriated from retrospective movies and TV shows. As well as being simply visually stunning, McDermott’s paintings access a nostalgic point in time for all those who experienced the prevalence of American TV productions throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. His subjects represent something very familiar despite being foreign to many of us. This most recent body of work, however, represents a shift away from a more dominant subject matter towards a panoramic city view. Not only this, but also a move further through time. We are presented with a selection of paintings of varying scales that experiment with McDermott’s interest in light, colour and tonal qualities. By photographing TV stills and then rendering in paint McDermott’s process serves to heighten and distort these qualities. Either night or day scenes using images appropriated from the 1940’s onwards are painted in distorted colour, black and white or grey scale monochrome.

In totality we present here a vibrant selection of artists who are keen to celebrate technique and to embrace other technical visual mediums in the process of making their work. Throughout there are resonances of a more sophisticated post-modern appropriation and the acknowledgement and use of common culture. Together they form a representative barometer of current painting practices.

Clapham Art Gallery

61 Venn Street

London SW4 0BD

Unit 02

40-48 Bromell's Road

London SW4 0BG

+44 (0)20 7720 0955

Gallery Hours: Tue-Sat 11am-7pm


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