Altered Image. In this latest series, the artist investigates the complex relationship between contemporary painting and art history. The canvas is divided into large areas of vibrant colour, each zone being both an abstract monochrome and a focal point.
Eleven is delighted to present Altered Image, an exhibition of new works by
Martin McGinn. In the former Duochrome series the surface of the canvas was
split in two different colours, as if, said the artist, painted by 'a
schizophrenic whose brain, left and right sides, perceives the world
disconnected by fields of particular colour'. McGinn now pushes further his
exploration of monochromatic colour fields. In this latest series, the
artist investigates the complex relationship between contemporary painting
and art history. With dynamic brushstrokes, he reproduces famous historical
pictures - works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Hobbema - that he has been
admiring and looking at again and again over the years. Yet far from being
mere copies, McGinn's versions of these popular images are real
reinterpretations. The canvas is divided into large areas of vibrant colour,
each zone being both an abstract monochrome and a focal point, inviting the
viewer to consider specific parts of the original painting individually.
In McGinn's rereading of Velazquez's Pope Innocent X, the Pope's head is circled by a yellow halo, highlighting his fierce glaze; likewise, his ring, symbol of his religious and secular power is framed by a square blue shape. If the colours of McGinn's works can almost always be found in the historical paintings that inspired them, the new chromatic composition, like the change of scale, challenges the readability of the image and investigates the thin line between figuration and sheer abstraction. These paintings also appear as a superimposition of two artistic tendencies; the original image emerges from a geometrical abstraction, strongly reminiscent of the 60s predominant style. McGinn applies to painting the Duchampian concept of the ready-made. Familiar images are displayed, and in this case executed, in an unfamiliar manner, inviting the viewer to find a fresher perspective on art history.
Martin McGinn has exhibited widely and his work is in a number of prestigious collections including the British Council, the Government Art Collection, the Moores Collection, the Saatchi Collection and the Swedish Art Council. He lives and works in London.
Private View Tuesday 22nd October 2008, 6 to 8pm
Eleven Fine Art
11 Eccleston Street - London
Gallery Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 11.00 - 6.00, Thursday 11.00 - 7.00, Saturday 11.00 - 4.00