Loners' Island

24 November 2007 - 12 January 2008

Dan Mort, Untitled
Dan Mort, Untitled

Loners’ Island is a place familiar to many artists and audiences. It is a place of melancholy, danger, wonderment and disinterested curiosity. It is full of discovery, boredom and potential pitfalls, an aesthetic and conceptual island where both spectator and creator is dragged between extremes of naiveté, mean-spirited sophistication, calculated ugliness, the sublime and the ridiculous.

Gordon Robin Brown makes satirical and surreal paintings which combine a curious mix of elegance, humour and eroticism. The works pose bizarre narrative scenes depicting a strange, compromised paradise where both human and animal characters are set in private folkloric ensembles against vast expanses of colour. The large-scale acrylic paintings and small ink watercolours are drawn with a clarity of line and refined draughtsmanship. Ideas come through doodling and sketching, often drawn directly onto canvas with no predetermined plan. Brown works instinctively, responding to ideas as they suggest themselves as he works. In one painting, it seems as though the world of Beatrix Potter has collided with The Joy of Sex.

Lloyd Durling’s delicate and minutely detailed biro drawings explore the way in which many artists are currently dealing with the meaning of landscape. The fantasy elements of his work, their magical extravagancies and gestural filigrees are juxtaposed with brutalised visions of humanity and environmental destruction. The complexity of these works offers a poised view of a world that is simultaneously perfected by technology and destroyed by modern warfare and industry.

David Marchant’s work embraces technology and also questions it. He uses simple, recognisable objects reworked to engage with complex issues. He also uses video and performance to question identity and challenge possible public oppression.

Known for his slick and slimy pictures of mutant creatures, Alex Gene Morrison lures his audience into a world of melting heads, rotten carcasses and giant flies. The idea of seduction and repulsion is very important to Morrison. His paintings, collages and animations brings the audience into a visceral experience and then keys into some of the base, yet very powerful human emotions such as desire, fear, disgust and wonder.

Dan Mort describes his work as ‘possible sculpture’. Playfully fusing disparate items, materials and modes of production, his pieces often reference familiar modernist strategies that are thrown off balance by the inclusion of unexplained elements. Sheer materiality and a sense of the arbitrary play against the works’ potential as signifiers. He wants to consider whether determined conditions of viewing inevitably force the assignation of contextual or symbolic resonance, or if the resulting work could in fact be understood as nothing more than stuff, arranged ‘sculpture-wise’ in vacuous, quasi aesthetic configurations.

Miranda Whall’s videos, photographs and drawings create unique contexts in which to represent specific relationships between herself, nature and the wider external environment. Self-portraits absorbed in the scatological necessities, autoerotic pleasures and the pragmatic monitoring of her fertile conditions are played out and coexist alongside arbitrary and seemingly indiscriminate non-hierarchical groupings of images and objects such as birds, farm machinery, rural architecture and transport. Whall, often humorously, attempts to establish equality between herself and her co-habitors or locality. She is interested in purposefully ignoring the boundaries that exist between her and other things and through doing so questions what and where it is appropriate and inappropriate to be female.

If ‘Loners’ Island’ has more than one resident, then surely it becomes a small community of likeminded souls with connections between the artist and audience. Not so on this desolate, rather disturbing isle, where each artist would rather die a honourable death or eat his or her young than become part of the general consensus. Each artist here stakes their own idiosyncratic claim on Loners’ Island, where their work can fight internal battles and say this is this, this isn’t something else.

This show was curated by
  • Mermaid and Monster
    • Dan Mort, Untitled
    • Alex Gene Morrison, Purgation (2007)
    • David Marchant, Reclamation of Identity
    • Gordon Robin Brown, Ctrll+Alt+Delete (2007)
    • Miranda Whall, Untitled
    • Lloyd Durling, Untitled