Saturday, October 9

Local Comparisons: Turner Prize 2010

Burroughs in Tangiers Dexter Dalwood 2005 (via Tate Britain)
October 5th marked the opening of the Tate Britain's 2010 Turner Prize Finalist Exhibition.The winner will be chosen from the four participants and announced on December 6th.

Dexter Dalwood has my vote. His paintings are of events or places never seen and usually only previously existing through literary or cultural references. Doesn't sound like he's a likely winner though (see a round-up of press reviews here). Richard Dorment of the Telegraph says of Dalwood:
His pastiches have virtually no aesthetic interest, but that’s OK with the artist because Dalwood’s one big idea is to add a title that evokes the presence of an absent celebrity without actually depicting him or her. For example, you wouldn’t look twice at the image of a tree and full moon against a plain blue ground, but the work’s title Death of David Kelly neatly exploits that good man’s death for the smug consumption of the art world’s least thoughtful fashionistas.
Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse Dexter Dalwood 2000
Mystic Whiting Tennis 2004
(via Harold Hollingsworth)
Hmm...I cannot disagree. But his exact distaste for Dalwood's imagery is exactly what I like about it! Heck, it's what I aim for in my own work. A representational image made up of both objective and non-objective aesthetics that begs you to just look at it! Or not look at it, and miss how quiet it is altogether. Which is an idea I particularly like: how can an image be both boring and exciting?

Dorment is right though: without some of those titles, would these spaces be anything other than mundane little worlds? This is exactly why the paintings are great. Like with Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse, we are led into a serene place with only clues (a guitar, Seattle skyline) and no idea that something is amiss.The title (being used in a way I generally shy from - being that I usually wish they weren't even there) is what gives you the goosebumps.
So Majestic 2010 Grant Hottle (via Half/Dozen Gallery)
Locally, Dalwood's collage-like language reminds me of Whiting Tennis. Also, Grant Hottle is exploring the same idea of "what is real" - and even his recent work, So Majestic, seems to mirror Dalwood's Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse.

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