David Minton Still-Life
21st October – 5th January 2021
We welcome David Minton into the Gallery with his solo show Still Life.
Featuring 18 new works of Pigment on paper mounted on aluminium.
IN PLACE OF A STATEMENT
This work was in the pipeline at about the same time as Covid was emerging, and the show has gradually shifted across the months of lockdown and restriction. My initial feeling was that the crisis would be over in a couple of months, a completely naive misunderstanding and underestimation of its growth and effects on life and its patterns, and also of the difficulties involved in ‘simply’ managing the situation.
This age is one of management, and management now is at heart an ideological thing controlled by a managerial class. Ideologies describe, define, and shape people and things.
In the back of my mind is the notion of the show as do or die. Being anxious about exactly what I am making, and concerned that it is decoration, work without mind, it is necessary to look it in the eye, for better or worse to do it and see what results, to do what comes to me, to defy it to be trivial, superficial and to accept the truth of what it says. Some time ago in conversation with an SVAF member I joked that all that I really wanted to do was to make a lovely large orange surface, stand and look at it and dribble! What an awful ambition, terrible confession, in a world of theory, of concepts; there is no getting away from it, but maybe more to it? In our now fractured, postmodern-altermodern, postcolonial, time of critique, ‘alternative’ facts, what appears to hark back to 20th century modernist painting might seem an anachronism. A single line of colour echoes Barnett Newman’s ostensibly spiritual Zip paintings, the ‘Onement’ paintings, ‘Adam’. A generational thing, but here they are secular things, bodily and tactile. That too marks out an ideological position.
And since the author has been declared dead and revived, generations of materialists have grown up without religious belief, minimalism has proposed ‘specific objects’. These things of mine with no spiritual intent, may be formal, sentimental memories, pastiche in the worst sense. Or conversely, perhaps they will tell me otherwise, of unintended inevitable Spirituality. Memory is necessarily both of the time remembered and the time of remembering. These paper, pigment, and aluminium things share family resemblances with things of the past, whilst suggesting a social mobility indicative of the evolution of manufactured things, of consumption and the ongoing uncompromising commodification of everything.
Their softnesses, confined by hard edges made from fear, a compulsion not to err, have one foot in a past when conventional moralities were harsh things, home to painful consequences in the event of their flouting, the other in a present when moralities are matters of convention.
I come across lots of bits and pieces in the form of ideas and things, material, ground pigment, smooth paper, knives and stencils, smoothing and coaxing, touching looking fixing and deciding. In my making I have a beachcombery relationship to all this, wandering between my high and low tides picking up whatever has drifted into view and settled in the stones, things, thoughts, and ideas both resonant and opaque, part understood, in the hope that they will make sense, however small, if not now then tomorrow, a consolation and self-validation, in that what was lost in times of coercion might remain alive, albeit in the moment , still-life.
David Minton 2020
Doors Pigment on paper mounted on aluminium 74 x 53 cm
Tear Two Tear Three
Both pigment on paper mounted on aluminium 74 x 53 cm