In Ross Chisholm’s new body of work, the artist continues with his portrait/abstraction series, the original image being less visible than in works previous. Chisholm has developed a particular painterly language in the wake of his previous transcriptions of the society portraits. As if they were after-‐images of the historical works, where he has withdrawn the detailed processes of reproduction and left the residue of those practices to congeal into vaguely figurative abstractions. Using wide and thick brushwork, the traces of paint are blended along the way, emphasizing its liquescense. These abstract paintings are an essential part of the syncopation, the musicality of the work, as they unexpectedly turn into new formations. At the same time, they strengthen the abstract tendencies and references to surface of the figurative pieces.
Elsewhere are more minimal, intervention/found image works. Some of which use found prints and paintings and are a continuation of themes of artistic identity and the limits and contingencies of works of art. For Chisholm, paintings have always been object-‐like, the surface of a work does not end at the edges of the canvas, but extend around the edges, down the sides and into the back. In works such as Untitled, 2012 (top floor), the framed canvas is reversed and framed again, the hanging wire of the work now visible. The surfaces of the work vary greatly from scratched, blurred and in some cases untouched. Many of the found works on the top floor of the gallery appear decayed, their surfaces aging and sometimes morphing over time, clearing the way for a new passage. For Chisholm, this process of decay and the process of reproduction means the image remains in continuous flux.
Ross Chisholm deconstructs notions of traditional portraiture by skillfully painting figures from found photographs and reproductions, and then interrupting them with visual breaks in the form of geometric abstractions, loose brushwork, and thick dabs of paint. His subjects are borrowed, singly or in combinations, from several distinct art historical and vernacular styles, in many cases 18th-‐ and 19th-‐century grand portraiture, found holiday snapshots and slides from the 1970s and geometric abstraction. Chisholm distorts and isolates the figures in his paintings until a fixed sense of time and identity are rendered ambiguous.
until June 23, 2012
Courtesy of IBID PROJECTS, London