Alison Jacques Gallery
16-18 Berners St
London, Great London W1T 3LN
July 5 – August 3
Alison Jacques Gallery is presenting a body of nine new paintings by British artist Mathew Weir. In these works Weir continues to fuse imagery of ceramic figurines with his archive of landscapes to create complex narratives with exquisite yet melancholic auras. By dislocating and re-presenting historic objects such as early 19th Century German terracottas or Victorian ceramics in uncanny contexts, Weir entreats the viewer to reconsider how our interpretations of their original representations have been transposed over time and to actively address notions of racism, oppression, violence and death.
Weir employs a layering of metaphor throughout his landscapes: an image of a waterfall referring to latent sexuality, a children’s see-saw to the idea of psychological balance. And even in those works in this show where he has deliberately sliced his figurines apparently out of context so that they loom at you from solid black backgrounds, this ominous duality of interpretation is rife. Glory, Hallelujah (2013) is based on a detail of a Staffordshire figurine depicting the American abolitionist John Brown, who himself was hung for insurrection, its title from the famous Civil War marching song sung in his honour. The original figurine is cropped to an intimate portrait, which makes our encounter with Brown directly charged. His ardent but mis-painted eyes stare out from what’s clearly a painting of a painted object – the quick, imprecise marks and cracks on the original mass-produced popular figurine contrasting with Weir’s exacting brushwork. This vulnerable martyr not only epitomizes emancipation and release for Weir, but also fragile dis-figuration.
Mathew Weir (born, 1977) graduated from the Royal College of Art, London (2004). He lives and works in London. In 2012 Alison Jacques Gallery published a Mathew Weir catalog with an essay by Brian Dillon. Recent museum exhibitions include: Beyond Reality, British Painting Today, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2012); Passion Fruits Picked from the Olbricht Collection, me Collectors Room, Berlin (2010); Lebenslust & Totentanz, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems (2010); and Wonderland – Through the Looking Glass, KadE. Amersfoort (2009). Weir’s oil painting Abattoir (2013) is currently in Made in Bow at the Nunnery Gallery, London, until 25 July 2013, and his work is in the group show Victoriana: The Art of Revival at the Guildhall Art Gallery, London, from 7 September – 8 December 2013.