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Mikey Georgeson - TragiCosmic - An Exhibition

Words by Dan Evans MA RCA from

Looking at Mikey Georgseon's “No Title – Let's Wrestle”, a series of paintings made from a film of his sons wresting at home, I am reminded of a tale a told to me by a friend while we were at school. 

His dad had taken him to see the Saturday afternoon wrestling somewhere in Birkenhead. It would have been the early 1980's, back in the days of Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and the ever terrifying Kendo Nagasaki. 

I only remember two things about his account of the visit, the first being a description of him, his dad and the whole crowd in the arena going crazy, standing on their seats, pumping their fists in unison, screaming ‘EASY! EASY! EASY!' as Big Daddy chucked his opponent around the ring. The second being how on the way out, he'd peeked behind a curtain, and saw the same Big Daddy, naked, in the shower. 

I have reason to believe he may have been lying about the latter, but I can well imagine Chris and dad stood, chanting and shouting at the spectacle of two large men ‘fighting' in the ring, because that's the way it works. 

Wrestling provides a framework in which we can transcend our everyday reality within the safety of agreed boundaries. As spectators we're telescoped from the mundane to the fantastic (and beyond, in my school friend's case). It's real, and not real simultaneously. 

I get a sense from Mikey's paintings that there's an element of that tension present too, perhaps on a very different type of canvas. 

The scene is played out with vigour by the young boys within the parameters of a home wrestling match. Mikey's paint swirls this way and that, thick gobbets merging to equalize the objects within, yet constrained by the edges of the canvas. Form is maintained to heighten illusion, but subject itself arcs across paintings. 
Another features the young brothers from Edlington, recently convicted of a ‘appalling and terrible' assault on another pair of boys. The image is painted from a court drawing and defies the faceless and static nature of the source, there is gesture and texture. But is there a value judgement taking place here? I don't think so. 

Mikey insists that the simple cosmic interconnectivity of all events, our shared responsibility, is what is important. 

These ‘episodic globules captured in glistening sticky fluid called paint,' are channelled through him, via his ever shifting ‘here and now,' and onto canvas. The moment the work becomes didactic he draws back. 

Were those screaming wrestling fans in Birkenhead interested in knowing that Kendo Nagasaki's real name was Peter Thornley and he was born in Stoke? Maybe, but I doubt it. Rationalisation of the precise nature of relationships on the canvas is best avoided to dodge the negation of the act. Action springs from intuition, allowing infinite space for synchronicity and connectivity, at the centre the artist effortlessly dances around the canvas as we stand in the gallery, chanting EASY! EASY! EASY!

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