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Alison Jacques Gallery: MATHEW WEIR - 17 Apr 2009 to 16 May 2009

Current Exhibition


17 Apr 2009 to 16 May 2009
Hours : tuesday - saturday, 10 - 6
OPENING THURSDAY 16 APRIL, 6-8PM
Alison Jacques Gallery
16 - 18 BERNERS STREET
W1T 3LN
London
United Kingdom
Europe
p: +44 (0) 20 7631 4720
m:
f: +44 (0) 20 7631 4750
w: www.alisonjacquesgallery.com











MATHEW WEIR
17 APRIL – 16 MAY 2009
Alison Jacques Gallery, London
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Artists in this exhibition: MATHEW WEIR


MATHEW WEIR
17 APRIL – 16 MAY 2009
OPENING THURSDAY 16 APRIL, 6-8PM


'At times, Weir’s canvases are so intense
– so heavy with history and eye-searing colour
– that they produce a kind of psychological overload.'


-Tom Morton, from the essay Strange Fruit, in Mathew Weir, 2006



Alison Jacques Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by the British artist Mathew Weir. In his minutely observed paintings Weir uses images of 19th and 20th Century ceramic figurines or dioramas and situates them in landscape settings that are built up from an archive of sourced imagery. By removing these visual elements from their historical context Weir urges the viewer to reconsider the meanings we instinctively attach to them, thereby creating an ambiguity between subject and intention.
Densely loaded with diverse visual and literary references, Weir’s paintings and sculptures examine sexual and racial stereotypes as well as representations of ideas relating to death. His high-keyed, Pre-Raphaelite palette draws the viewer closer but its intensity has a disquieting quality. The gaudy beauty and apparent jovial nature of many of his protagonists hide dark secrets that slowly reveal themselves. Part painterly, part photographic, the manner in which Weir slithers and blurs his paint, deftly sliding his theatrical scenes in and out of focus, elicits a similarly uncanny effect.

The figures in The Lake (2008) are based on a Victorian Staffordshire figurine depicting a scene from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Figurines inspired by this story provided Weir with the subject matter for a number of earlier works depicting black males, through which he explored notions of difference, fear and voyeurism. In this recent painting, the pairing of the characters Uncle Tom and the young girl Eva evokes potentially sinister readings. The title of the work is taken from that of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe in which the author describes a body of water as being dark and foreboding while also offering a place of refuge and escape.

In the last two years Weir has begun to make sculptures that reference directly the various ceramic pieces he reproduces in his paintings. Shrine (2008) is based on a version of a Victorian Staffordshire spill-vase featuring Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf character. First put into print by the author Charles Perrault in 1697, and later rewritten by the Brothers Grimm, Weir is drawn to this particular story for its various speculative violent and sexual psychoanalytical readings. The title of the sculpture refers to a sketch of the altar-like construction that the American serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer had intended to build using his victim’s bones.

Mathew Weir (born Ipswich, 1977) lives and works in London. He studied at the Royal College of Art (2002-2004) and Winchester School of Art (1996-1999). Previous exhibitions include Size Matters: XS, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York (2007); A Violet from Mother’s Grave, ( featuring Richard Dadd, Wim Delvoye, Mike Diana, Robert Gober, Dawn Mellor, Peter Peri, Louis Wain, Mathew Weir) curated by Mathew Weir, Emily Tsingou Gallery, London (2005); Co-operative Society, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2005); Breaking God’s Heart, curated by Glenn Brown; 38 Langham Street, London (2003); Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester; 14 Wharf Road, London (2003). Forthcoming exhibitions include Jerwood Contemporary Painters, Jerwood Space, London (22 April – 31 May 2009) (touring) and WONDERLAND: through the looking glass (curated by Robbert Roos), the inaugural exhibition at KADE, Amersfoort (1 May – 1 September 2009).



TUESDAY 5 MAY 7PM: GALLERY TALK BY TOM MORTON
Tom Morton, curator at London’s Hayward Gallery and contributing editor to Frieze, will give a talk on Mathew Weir’s practice in response to the current exhibition.

Next Exhibition: Saul Fletcher: 22 May – 27 June 2009, opening Thursday 21 May

For further info: email: press@alisonjacquesgallery.com or tel: +44 20 7631 4720








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