The Saatchi Gallery is pleased to present its latest exhibition Painters’ Painters, a celebration of the age old medium of painting and how it is being both preserved and transformed by a selection of nine living artists.
Briefly encounter each talented member of our line up and their vastly differing styles below, and be sure to pay a visit to the Gallery to confront their canvases in person. Painters’ Painters will be on display until 28th February 2017, and as always, entry is free.
David Salle reflects the ongoing modern preoccupation with the problem of reconciling one’s individuality with the constant input of images and ideas from the outside, media-dominated world. His images come from a variety of sources including magazines, stock photographs, and pornography, and he puts such images together in a painting the way another artist might create a collage using scraps of paper. Portraits, interiors, still-life and abstraction all converse in similar time, together in a hyper-textual visual story. The connections do not seem forced, so much as nearly random, floating in a world of simultaneity and equilibrium.
Ryan Mosley is moved by an historic sense of the carnivalesque, his canvases offer up a surreal world of invented characters and rituals that are at once archaic and futuristic. Mosley develops his theatrical subjects through a spontaneous approach to painting; rather than sketching out his compositions he uses a de tête process by which he allows imagery to well up and flow one mark to the next. His unusual subjects appear on the canvas worked, reworked, painted over, fed on mistakes. The viewer often feels that the characters are having a conversation, or are on stage during a performance, yet Mosley’s process is quite organic: sometimes it starts with an idea for narrative, then sometimes, according to the process of the painting, the narrative arrives.
Bjarne Melgaard is a Norwegian painter born in Sydney, Australia and now based in New York City. He has been hailed as the most famous Norwegian artist since Edvard Munch for his stylistic, graffiti-esque compositions which often shed light on the plights of society’s marginalised groups. His canvases are loud and somewhat aggressive, but provocatively charming in their way of pointing to topics we might not normally feel comfortable discussing.
Martin Maloney makes social observation paintings, trendy and casual, like jeans ads or thirty-something sitcoms. His anecdotal scenes are contemporary adaptations of the type of genre paintings, still-lifes and portraits seen in historical paintings by artists such as Poussin, Vermeer and Watteau. Attention is always paid to the things that count: clothing, hairstyles, radios and pets. But Maloney’s product placement seems more like evidence of dissatisfaction than success. His singles’ scene subjects are humorous, awkward, and seductive despite their flaws. Rendered with all sincerity, Maloney’s paintings inject a little bit of faux-naïf tragedy into PC-inspired happiness.
Ansel Krut sees cartooning the same as any other art historical genre, as its direct flatness facilitates the immediate understanding of something. He toys with traditional still-lifes to paint portraits of objects in human form that are both self-conscious and confrontational. He sketches and sketches out his compositions, gradually adding colour and translating the image into a painting when the moment feels right. Krut’s practice thrives on messing with assumptions and expectations; his paradoxically shapeshifting subjects force viewers to question what their eye sees at first glance and to alter their definitions of artistic genres, the potential of inanimate things and even of beauty itself.
Raffi Kalenderian largely finds inspiration in the people of his native sunny and eclectic Los Angeles, most often painting portraits of his friends and family looking pensive before highly detailed and abstractedly swirling domestic backgrounds. His indoor and outdoor scenes explore notions of isolation, the inner self and the power of the human psyche. Despite a certain loneliness that grabs the viewer, Kaldenderian’s sitters come across as at ease with themselves and gel serenely with their flowing geometric surroundings.
Dexter Dalwood paints imagined, uninhabited interiors and landscapes that cleverly memorialise historic events, places and personalities who met darkly glamorous ends. His canvases act as the unseen landmarks of the collective conscious, the private places he paints are so fantastic yet so accurate that they surely must exist. Dalwood dreams up his scenes with the up-close-impersonal sterility of Hello! magazine spotlights; everything needed to know about the person is in the paint. In their absence, celebrities’ presences are undeniably felt, and the walls harbour the gravitas of dramatic happenings past.
David Brian Smith was born in Shropshire, where his father raises sheep. His farming background fuels much of his work, though it is a particular vintage image of a pensive shepherd snapped for The Daily Express in 1933 that continually offers up fresh inspiration to Smith. Using the same image allows him to jump between different styles of painting and arrive at new ones; each time Smith can reinvent the space, light and palette within the picture. He enjoys painting life-sized images on herringbone linen because of its association to rural heritage, to flat caps and tweed jackets, and because the scale makes him feel utterly engrossed in the scene he’s painting.
Richard Aldrich is based in the New York borough of Brooklyn, and often incorporates his studio there into his paintings by attaching bits and pieces of paper ephemera he happens to have lying around the workspace directly to compositions. He wants his work to maintain the dual qualities of the places in which they were made and the spaces in which they will hang. Aldrich also performs in a band with other visual artists called Hurray and writes poetry and experimental prose. His various interests are often reflected in his efforts to create art that achieves a certain “unwordliness of experience” between abstraction and literary motifs.