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CHARLIE SMITH london
336 Old Street
London EC1V 9DR
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7739 4055
 
 
 
 

 
GAVIN NOLAN
 
A King’s Gambit Accepted
 
Private View:                 Thursday March 18th 6.30pm–8.30pm
Exhibition Dates:           Friday March 19th – Saturday April 24th 2010
Gallery Hours:               Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm or by appointment
 
 
Gavin Nolan, 'Rhythm of Cruelty', 2010
 
Gavin Nolan
'Rhythm of Cruelty'
Oil on canvas
184x154cm
2010
 
 
CHARLIE SMITH london is delighted to present Gavin Nolan with his first London one person show since 2006.
 
Nolan has become internationally known for his brutal self portraits and portraits of those around him. More recently, however, the artist has begun to depict historical figures of consequence, leading on from his abject painting 'Portrait as the Suicide of Robert Benjamin Haydon Attempt no. 3', where a self portrait is superimposed onto the death mask of Benjamin Haydon, complete with gunshot wound and open slits to the throat.
 
 
Gavin Nolan, 'Suicide Blonde', 2010
 
Gavin Nolan
'Suicide Blonde'
Oil on canvas
31x25.5cm
2010
 
 
For 'A King's Gambit Accepted' the artist has created a collection that continues to draw on historical figures, and in particular those who have committed suicide or chosen a definitive path of action that drives them towards an inevitable death, for example Adolf Hitler, Jesus Christ, Walter Benjamin and Ernest Hemingway. Nolan seeks to render biographical aspects of the subject in the painted surface, whilst aligning knowledge of their particular method of demise to art historical references. And by investigating notions of image and adornment in relation to interiority, the artist explores aspects of the subjects’ private and public lives. A revelatory sense of psychological turmoil, paranoia and violence seeps out, with horror set against beauty and unease underpinning precocity.
 
 
Gavin Nolan, 'Saviour Machine', 2010
 
Gavin Nolan
'Saviour Machine'
Oil on canvas
30.5x25.5cm
2010
 
 
Corresponding with these notions are a consideration of power and authority and their projection upon others, where a public surfacing of one person’s private will can lead to populations adhering to cults, religions and schools of thought. We are encouraged to question the correlation between fame, notoriety, death and even mental illness; the ensuing relationships between them, and the consequent impact on society and the individual. Ultimately Nolan serves to emphasize how complex and interconnected are personal and public histories, interior and external worlds, and how the nature of a death can come to define a subject’s life.
 
 
Gavin Nolan, 'Untitled', 2010
 
Gavin Nolan
'Untitled'
41x30.5cm
Oil on canvas
2010
 
 
Gavin Nolan, 'Why Kill when you can Kill Yourself', 2010
 
Gavin Nolan
'Why Kill when you can Kill Yourself'
Oil on canvas
35.5x25.5cm
2010
 
  
 
An essay by Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield has been written in accompaniment with this exhibition:
 
'Choose life or celebrate at the party of suicides’
 
‘And what a party: Walter Benjamin, Jesus Christ, Joseph Goebbels, Ernest Hemingway, Adolf Hitler, Marilyn Monroe, Sylvia Plath, Socrates, Virginia Woolf. There are no painters here, though according to the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard they top the table of suiciding artists…’
 
 
 
 
Biography
 
Born:
1977
 
Education:
1999 – 2002: MA in Fine Art, Royal Academy Schools
1996 – 1999: BA (Hons) in Fine Art, Loughborough University School of Art
 
One Person Exhibitions:
2010:    A King’s Gambit Accepted, CHARLIE SMITH london, London       
2009:    Hexen Reflex, Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles             
2006:    Unnatural Selection, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London
 
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2010:    The Reflected Gaze, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance
2009:    The Future Can Wait, Old Truman Brewery, London
2008:    The Past is History, Changing Role Gallery, Naples & Rome
            New London School, Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles
2006:    Icons, Chungking Projects, Los Angeles
            Half Life, Fieldgate Gallery, London                                 
2005:    Maji Jabii!! Fucking Brilliant!!, Tokyo Wondersite, Tokyo
            Carter Presents, Carter Presents, London
            New London Kicks, Wooster Projects, New York
            The Deviants, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London
            The Sun Also Rises, Rockwell, London
            Faux Realism Part 1+2, Rockwell & Royal Academy Pumphouse, London
            Darkest Hour, Club Mogadishni, Copenhagen
2004:    Born, Cry, Eat, Shit, Fuck, Die, Rockwell, London
 
Collections:
Marc Coucke, Ghent; Jean Pigozzi, Geneva; David Roberts, London; Dr Rainer Schiweck, Munich; Howard Tullman, Chicago; private collections in Germany, United Kingdom & United States
 
 
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