Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Matt Saunders // Yanis Avontins

Matt Saunders
Back of a Head [Lilian Harvey] #1
Courtesy of the Artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, Harris Lieberman and Blum & Poe

I saw Matt Saunder's exhibition 'Century Rolls' a couple of months back at Tate Liverpool, and was intrigued at first by the seemingly abstract images, and then by the process behind the work. Fusing painting, drawing and photography together Matt uses his paintings and drawings as negatives to expose work from, resulting in unusual Silver Gelatin Prints. 

The works at first glance appear to consist of abstract swirls of paint and ink - all in a monochrome pallet of greyscale, as your eyes focused you began to notice figures emerge from the murkiness, often the same figure, obscure German film star Lilian Harvey. By using an obscure and forgotten actress as his muse, Saunders plays upon the idea of fleeting celebrity, once the star has burnt they are inevitably replaced and rarely thought of by the mass public again. Just as we never fully see Harvey in the paintings, only fragments, suggestions of the former star, lost in the murky swirls of paint and shadows. The repetition of Harvey's striking silhouette in different images adds to the tragic pathos of trying to remember the same person over and over but the memories never quite coming clear. 

The over-all style of the work is very Film-Noir, there's a real tragic feel to the work, the patterns created with the light sensitive chemicals and paint from the negatives are stunning almost like tear-stained pictures, it was a hauntingly beautiful exhibition!

Photographs from Natpoc

Yanis Avontins @ Saatchi Gallery

Yanis Avontins

I saw Yanis Avontins paintings at the Saatchi Gallery in the 'Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union' exhibition' and they instantly reminded me of Matt Saunders work. The thinly painted images suggest fading/faded memories, almost ghost-like in appearance, large scale canvas engulf tiny hazy images in the centre, making them seem even more of blur of a forgotten memory.  

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