STEPEHEN PIERCE- NEW PAINTINGS (04 - 25 Sept., 2009)
The recent works are a continuing exploration of an alternate reality, of dysfunctional parallel worlds. Scale remains a central interest in the construction of these universes. Scale, the use of a close-up viewpoint and an immersion in the detail of the forms, all lead to an ambiguity about the subject of the paintings. The resulting images present scenes that are at once familiar and strange. Rooted in the genre of Still Life, one is left trying to make sense of these other worlds or forms. Inspired in part by the fictional landscapes of film (Tarkovsky) and literature (Ballard) and by found images of the ruins of ancient civilisations, the current paintings imagine places and objects devoid of life yet pregnant with the possibility. Hovering on the edges of abstraction and surrealism the subject has evolved into an intensely personal world.
The paintings have as their origin small handheld sculptural objects made from everyday detritus; plaster, plastics, metal, cloth, electronic components, glass, wire, beads, glue and many other abject materials. Drawing on a wide range of art historical sources (including Bosch, Brueghal, Picasso, Arte Povera, De Chirico, Bacon) as well as cultural references (such as science fiction, tribal effigies, genetics, nanotechnologies) and natural forms (including micro-organisms, plant growth, disease) the resulting accumulations, spliced together in aberrant ways, allow flashes of recognition of these origins. The sculptures are then photographed in close up with theatrical lighting. The final images are the building blocks for paintings on aluminium panel and on canvas.
The inevitable corrosion, decay and destructive force of nature is always suggested in the work but so too is the notion of creation and re-growth. The forms are caught at a moment suspended between genesis and disintegration.