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Gestures for Nothing | Exhibition

Gestures for Nothing is a series of expressive paintings; sometimes entirely abstract, sometimes employing figures and words. The works are heavily influenced by literature and philosophy largely of the 20th and 21st centuries. A prominent theme in the work is the boundary between what can be written or visually represented and what can feel familiar or understandable, but is hard to pin down through conventional modes of expression.

The works respond to ideas about fragmentation, postmodernism, reductionism and the art of imperfection, but much of the meaning in the work comes in the space between the object and the viewer. The more figurative works respond to Modernist poetic methods of fragmentation as well as Buddhist philosophical ideas such as Rokuji Joju; and reference artworks, everyday experience and heightened emotional states.

The more abstract pieces take influence from Postmodernist writers such as David Foster Wallace and Don Dellillo as well as 20th Century playwright Samuel Beckett and Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko. They are self-conscious, self-reflective and somewhat absurd since they ask the viewer to look at them and ask why a large piece of canvas with some marks on it make us think or feel much at all, whilst also looking at the space they are in and deciphering how much that influences their experience but also, most importantly, are they actually emotive or is it all bollocks?

The creation of these works is heavily informed by the academic writings of Theodor Adorno on negation and Andy Hamilton on the aesthetics of imperfection, as well as paintings by Gerhard Richter, Jean-Michelle Basquiat and Cy Twombly. All of which ask us what the role of positive action is, what a word can mean, and how these things change when they are negated, crossed out or allowed to be ugly, incomplete and disorderly.

A running theme throughout this work is of being comfortable, feeling lost or confused at contemporary existence. They work out from the premise that the universe is imperfect and indifferent and try, to some extent, to portray the journey after accepting this of giving up, giving in, being chaotic and being confused. It is not just about a response to literature and painting that has moved to more abstracted, gramented meta, or self-conscious modes but why this means something to us now and what this means about being around now.

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