303 Gallery is proud to present our first exhibition of work by David Thorpe. Thorpe will show groups of sculptures, screens, drawings and intricate collages, made of grass, wood, leather and Formica, that simultaneously open up and close off the viewer from the world.
In one of the central collages, a sky is constructed of inlayed Formica reminiscent of stained glass panels. The laminate is solid and impenetrable, the collage has no distance, luminosity or horizon line. Thorpe's idea goes against traditional Western landscape painting which employs a sense of depth to suggest a limitless view - that the world is infinite. Here, the reverse happens.
He eschews limitlessness, instead opting to focus on an end point, a barrier. At the center of this work is a floating ship or building - a fortress, linked to Charles Robert Ashbee's (1863-1942) notion of "Ship of Craft". The second collage depicts a snowy landscape made from grass, wood and leather, again, with no horizon. The landscape in this work slowly multiplies on itself and closes itself off, creating an autonomous field of space.
Three screens, wood and clear glass, have been painted with matte green and brown pigments. Their function is the reverse of glass architecture, which was designed to show the wonders of the outside world. Instead of filling the interior space with beams of light, Thorpe's screens effectively shut out all manners of natural phenomena. Reflective on one side, the opposing side is a barrier to the outside world, while the main screen is shaped like a mountain range. Thorpe has also included a poem painted on paper in early manuscript-like text. The font is a self-sufficiency style taken from 'enthusiasts' pamphlets of the English Revolutionary period that promised a world turned upside down, but ended in defeat for the Radicals.
Images from top to bottom, left to right :
The Bright Light of the Fog, 2005
plaster, wax, and leather
59 x 10 cm diameter
The Great Conspirator, 2005
wood, plaster, glass, cement, resin, and slate
130 x 120 x 120 cm
The Quiet Ally, 2005
wood and painted glass
240 x 470 cm ( 2 panels @ 240 x 235 cm)
My Beseiged Self is My Glory!, 2005
oil on paper
35 x 25 1/2 cm
Defiant Jubilant, 2005
watercolor and pencil on paper
28 x 23 inches