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‘MATERIAL PAINTING’ - Clapham Gallery

Dickerson 'Ice & Evaporation' 121x181cm Soil, ice & pigment on canvas 2003


Fairman 'Terra Nuova' 180x444cm Egg tempera, soil and mixed media on board 2003


Pickstock 'Untitled ' 180x180cm Mixed media on canvas 2003



Exhibition Date: Tuesday 06/05/03 – 07/06/03

Opening Preview (Serving Mojito): Tuesday 06/05/03 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Contact: Zavier Ellis / Aniko Pall

CLAPHAM ART GALLERY presents ‘MATERIAL PAINTING’, a three person show featuring new work by Gail Dickerson, Sean Fairman and Duncan Pickstock.

‘MATERIAL PAINTING’ is an examination of three artists working within a very particular format. The emphasis is on abstract painting arrived at through the use of natural and alternative materials such as earth and ice as well as paint. Each of these three artists creates substantial, large-scale pieces that are resonant and physical and that emphasise the mark-making process that defines this type of work.

GAIL DICKERSON makes illusive works by melting blocks of ice containing mechanical objects and found material such as wood or earth onto bare canvas. Consequently, the surface becomes defined by the meandering of melting water as it follows its course from solid block to water channels to eventual evaporation. The melting ice leaves traces of residue through the rusting and breaking down of the materials contained within it. We are left with subtle and sensitive canvases that are marked or imprinted with hues and shapes formed by natural causation, mimicking the passing of time and changes to matter that is found in actual geological nature.

SEAN FAIRMAN’s pieces are aggressively and heavily worked next to Dickerson’s, displaying a passion and deep understanding of the raw mark-making process as well as for the materials themselves. Typically his pieces are monumental works made from natural and industrial materials such as earth, soil, sand, stone and tar. Underlying their physical nature, however, is a strong foundation in literature and learnings, both spiritual and philosophical. Here, for example, we have part of the ‘Terra Nuova Series’, works that are informed by and echo the boundary between abstract and narrative in the Cantos of Dante’s early Stilnovo poems, ‘La Vita Nuova’.

Fairman ‘subjects’ his works to many stages of change, ultimately transforming base materials into artworks that represent something dark and primitive that is present throughout humanity and existence. The direct intervention of the artist is manifest as he equates repeated ‘application and removal’ with a ‘physical and spiritual process of depiction and destruction’.

DUNCAN PICKSTOCK works closer to the paint tradition despite employing the use of various alternative materials such as plaster, marble dust and graphite. There is an element of the geometrical abstract to his paintings, which is alluded to then broken down with repetitive layering and working back into the surface. Indeed, Pickstock is focused on the nature of his surfaces and the manner in which they are defined by the history of their process, that is, the juxtaposition of exposure and concealment as layers of application and mark-making build towards their eventual outcome. The result is always, as with Dickerson and Fairman, a compositionally balanced and physical yet sensual manifestation.


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