6 January 2011
Painting & Drawing


Adam Fowler, Untitled (27 layers), 2010 
Adam Fowler
January 6 – February 12, 2011
Reception: Thursday, January 6, 6-8 pm
Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to announce the opening of Trilogy, an exhibition of new works by artist Adam Fowler. The artist’s third solo show with the gallery, Trilogy represents Fowler’s most ambitious and complex work to date.
Fowler’s deeply meditative and process-oriented work emerges from the fusion of near-polar actions. Beginning with sweeping, automatic drawings of organic lines, ellipses and circles, Fowler lays down graphite on sheet after sheet of archival paper. After the initial drawings are formed, the artist begins the painstaking work of removing all the unmarked space with an X-acto knife, tracing each arch and curve to create lacelike, skeletal objects. The sheets are then stacked one on top of another, forming dense, complex compositions. The result is neither drawing nor sculpture, but hovers in a newly carved space between the two.
By turning such acute attention to commonplace materials, Fowler creates a new sensitivity to the familiar. The natural associations and knowability, as well as the ubiquity of paper and pencil as a drawing material are completely recontextualized as the grounding element of negative space is removed, leaving the viewer with a perplexed sense of familiarity; the process obscures the medium. Fowler’s works re-enliven the notions of what pencil and paper can or ought to do. They drift in a formal limbo between drawing and sculpture, additive and subtractive processes, the swift aleatoric action of automatic drawing, and the calculated deliberateness of carving away the excess.
At once labyrinthine and intimate, Fowler’s pieces draw the viewer into an inimitable province of tone and texture, infused with an otherworldly sense of calm and rhythm. “It’s not the time invested in each work that I want the viewer to think about when they first see my work,” explains Fowler. “Rather, I hope that they are aware of a quiet intensity and concentration that comes from a meditative state.”
A recipient of the Krasner-Pollock foundation grant, Fowler has exhibited drawings at the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC and the Drawing Center, NYC. His work has also been published in the Harvard Review.
Adam Fowler
Untitled (27 layers), 2010
Graphite on paper, hand cut
12 x 9 in
Courtesy of Margaret Thatcher Projects, New York
Margaret Thatcher Projects
539 W. 23rd street
New York, NY 10011
T: +1 212 675 0222
E: info @

Diana Rattray, Two Views, 2010 
Exhibition November 5, 2010 – January 14, 2011 / extended to January 28, 2011
Born in Windsor, England, Diana Rattray lives and works in Düsseldorf, where she studied at the Kunstakademie and, under Erwin Heerich, received the Meisterschüler distinction.
Contemplate a Diana Rattray picture and something quite odd happens. In the first few seconds, one fancies one is looking at an old photograph and, in turn, being catapulted by it into another world, a different time, another context.
Rattray’s style is quite her own, a blend of tradition, individuality and objectivity drawing its inspiration from the 1950s and 60s as transmitted through black-and-white snaps from English and German post-war photo albums.
The artist’s own reading of this historical pictorial matrix is highly realistic and she interprets it in the same vein. With the requisite pinch of irony, however, she lends the positivism of the 1950s a twist with situations as the outcome that may be comic, awry or eccentric and quirky.
The world of Diana Rattray’s pictures is peopled by figures the types of which will be familiar to everyone – people at family celebrations, children in their Sunday best, families on day-trips – events recorded in order to have remembrance of this special day or that one moment on tap at any time.
But it is not the idyll of the family that interests Rattray. In works like Two Views or The Wedding, to name only two examples, the fascination lies in the people depicted in those scenes – their situation behind the picture and their lot after the picture. That is the reason the artist limits her photographic sources to images of people she knows and, as she says, why she plies them as she does.
Some of the people in Rattray’s pastel works seem to be adopting poses. They suspend what they are doing, face the viewer and lay on a smile in the knowledge that it will be recorded. The smile conditioned for the purpose is a preoccupation in this artist’s work. It is a smile that only takes place on the surface and reveals nothing about a person’s inner being.
At first glance it seems as if these paintings preserve a time in which everything was that little bit more ordered, a little simpler. But the viewer also becomes conscious of the choreographed nature of the scene. By heightening her colouring and amplifying a situation depicted, the artist points us toward a wider scope of meaning. The subtle elaboration of areas of shadow hints at the emotional world beyond the visible surface. A melancholy trait comes to the smiling lips, and something rigid to the faces; and, finding themselves face-to-face with the figures in the pictures, viewers are thrown back upon themselves. As a chronicler and at the same time an alert contemporary, Diana Rattray makes use of the distance in time and space to reconnect emotional memory.
The life stories of Rattray’s figures, modelled on the real people recorded in the photographs, are a central component of her pictures. Subtle gestures and glances serve as indications of things yet to come. Simultaneously, the everyday nature of the situations she chooses for her pastel paintings lends them a universality. Personal memory is triggered by the recognition of certain situations and the figures in Diana Rattray’s paintings become the projection surfaces for moments and feelings in the viewer’s own experience.
Diana Rattray. Borrowed Moments is an exhibition in co-operation with Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin/Zürich.
Exhibition extended to January 28, 2011.
The Gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 12 noon – 6 pm, Saturday 12 noon – 4pm; and by appointment.
Diana Rattray
"Two Views"
Pastel on paper, mounted on board,
framed with museum glass and wooden frame
162 x 124 cm / 63.8 x 47.2 inches
Courtesy Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer
Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer
Heinrich-Heine-Allee 19
Neustraße 12
D - 40213 Düsseldorf
T +49 21132 91 40

DAN BAYLES, (SitePhoto7) Khan Bani Saad Correctional Facility, 2009 
18 December 2010 - 5 February 2011
François Ghebaly Gallery is pleased to present Contract-W914NS-04-D-0009, a series of paintings by Dan Bayles that respond to the terminated reconstruction project of Khan Bani Saad Prison in Iraq.
Contract-W914NS-04-D-0009 was completed shortly after Bayles’ series of paintings that were based off of leaked photographs of the construction of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Each painting in Contract-W914NS-04-D-0009 is based off of a specific inspection photo used by the building inspector to ultimately terminate the building contract from the Parsons Corporation (Pasadena) due to faulty workmanship. Left half built and unused, the prison can be seen as one of many costly Iraqi reconstruction failures by the United States. If there is success to be found in the project, however, it is to see the empty shell in the desert as an unintentional sculpture or earthwork, which in its failure accurately portrays America’s foreign policy and expansionist endeavors. Its physical space left as is can function as a true monument, one which is proposed, commemorated, and preserved through the paintings acknowledgment of the original sites existence and potential.
Paintings from the series have been exhibited at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, and Illinois State University.
Dan Bayles past exhibitions include “Untitled, History Paintings” at the University Museum of Michigan, Ann Arbor curated by Jacob Proctor, “Glue, Paper, Scissor”, Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles; “Fantastic LA” at the Illinois State University Gallery ; “The Drama of the Gifted Child”, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, and an upcoming exhibition “Abstract America” at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Dan Bayles was a 2008 recipient of the California Community Foundation Emerging Artist grant.
Dan Bayles
(SitePhoto7) Khan Bani Saad Correctional Facility,
Mixed Media on Canvas, 18"x 12", 2009
Courtesy of the artist and François Ghebaly Gallery
François Ghebaly Gallery
2600 La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
T +1 323-221-2300
E info @

Christian Hidaka, Waterfall at the Top of the River, 2010 
Christian Hidaka
Waterfall at the Top of the River
13 January – 19 February 2011
We slip into Tientai caves,
Home is a hole,
And a hole’s where nothing is.
We visit people unseen -
Chewing magic mushrooms,
Underneath tall pines.
We talk about the past and present,
And sigh at the world gone mad.
- Shih Pe (9th century)
Waterfall at the Top of the River is a series of immersive meditations on a fictitious landscape based on the Japanese island of Yakushima. Waterfalls, rocks, mountains and skies form a cosmos of bright, colourful textural spaces, waiting to be drawn back into black holes. Through a saturated display of historical conventions found in both Eastern and Western landscape painting, Hidaka’s practice creates a sense of both harmony and dissonance, linking a specific landscape and abstract painting practice, consciousness and image.
Waterfall at the Top of the River re-articulates the gallery space, leading the viewer from behind a Japanese screen into a dramatic large-scale painted and imagined representation of Yakushima’s morphology. Three large paintings dominate, depicting the waterfalls of the title, with misty spirals and cavelike holes in hillsides leading to places of no return...
The title of the show is taken from the closing lines of a talk given by psychedelic writer Terence McKenna at the Esalen Institute, California in 1993, reflecting on the potential for landscape painting to evoke the psychology of human experience. McKenna played a crucial role in the resurgence of psychedelics for a younger generation during the nineties. His influence can be extended to Hidaka’s practice as a whole, and resonates especially with works in Waterfall at the Top of the River.
Christian Hidaka is known for a distinctive visual vocabulary made of broad brush-strokes saturated by Technicolor palettes, recalling psychedelic design culture over the past forty years. His landscape paintings depict archaic and futuristic landscapes that combine styles and narratives whose conventions are partly inherited from Japanese prints.
For Waterfall at the Top of the River the artist and Max Wigram Gallery have published a fully illustrated booklet featuring essays by Yves Brochard, Roger McDonald and David Waterworth.
Christian Hidaka (formerly Ward) was born in 1977 in Noda, Japan and lives and works in London. In 2010 Hidaka had a solo show at Michael Rein, Paris and was selected for The Library of Babel at 176 Gallery, London. Group shows in 2009 included Eat-me, Drink-me, Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas and Elements of Nature at the Weisman Art Museum, California. In 2008 he was part of the Beijing Biennale and Imaginary Realities at Max Wigram Gallery.
Terence McKenna wrote about psychedelic drugs, their role in society and existence beyond the physical body, but whose interests spanned ethno-botany, environmentalism, shamanism, mysticism, biology, geology and physics. McKenna’s use of plant-based entheogens (psychoactive substances used for spiritual effect) led to him to develop the timewave zero formula, a numerical theory purporting to calculate the ebb and flow of “novelty”.
Christian Hidaka
Waterfall at the Top of the River, 2010
206 x 334 cm
Courtesy of Max Wigram Gallery, London
106 New Bond Street
London W1S 1DN
T +44 (0) 207 495 4960

Ben Durham: Text Portraits at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York
Ben Durham
Text Portraits
7 January - 19 February, 2011
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery and Marc Selwyn Fine Art are pleased to present Ben Durham: Text Portraits, the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York and Los Angeles. The exhibition will be on view simultaneously at the galleries, January through February, 2011.
The subjects of Durham’s portraits are friends, classmates and acquaintances from his childhood in Lexington, Kentucky. In a ritualistic daily process, the artist combs the Lexington police reports for familiar names and faces, collecting their mug shots and arrest records. Ranging from petty theft to violent crime, these records represent the climax of a troubled past.
The exhibitions feature three series, Text Portraits, Map Diptychs and Map Composites. Drawn on his own thick hand-made paper, the Text Portraits are comprised of Durham’s memories of the subject, resulting in an eerily accurate picture composed entirely of text. Durham’s writing is densely layered at times, wearing away the paper’s surface to depict shadows, hair and eyes, while light cheeks and shoulders remain legible. In the Map Diptychs, lines representing the streets where the subject has lived repeat over each segment, acting as a kind of topographic skeleton underlying the subject’s silhouette on one side of the diptych, and on the other as an abstract diagram, "dyed blue, like a tattoo or a vein." As Durham writes, “The map image loosely forms the silhouette of the portrait just as the portrait is indelibly marked by the map... a diagram of a life marked on the skin.” For the Map Composites, dyed paper is sliced along the street grids of specific neighborhoods relating to each subject. These pieces are reconfigured and arranged to form a silhouette of the subject’s mug shot, creating “new combined streets and territories... a personal topography built of many maps.” In all three series, paper, used as sculptural material, creates conceptual parallels between modes of representation.
Extremely tactile and obsessively worked, Durham’s mark-making is a thorough and meditative exercise. Tracing his subjects’ footsteps while grasping at passing recollections, Durham’s investigative process is an attempt to reconstruct history using personal memory. Unarchiving narrative through the physical act of drawing, Durham reveals a more complete portrait, a complex history built from fact and reflection.
Ben Durham lives and works in Midway, KY. He received a B.F.A. in Painting at Washington University in St. Louis. Durham’s work has been included in exhibitions at Country Club, Cincinnati, OH, the 21C Museum, Louisville, KY. His work is in several private and public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Ben Durham
graphite text on handmade paper
58 x 44 x .75 inches (image)
147.3 x 111.8 x 1.9 centimeters
67 x 51.5 inches (framed)
170.2 x 130.8 centimeters
Courtesy Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
526 West 26th Street, #213
New York, NY 10001
T 1 212 243 3335

Tom Ellis, The Bitch, 2010
Tom Ellis
Preview Wednesday 12 January 6-8pm.
Thursday 13 January - Saturday 19 February 2011
“Then, being crazy, which is what he is, with the kind of craziness that most of the time takes one thing for another, and thinks white is black and black is white, like the time he said that the windmills were giants, and friars’ mules dromedaries, and the flocks of sheep enemy armies, and many other things of that nature, it won’t be very hard to make him believe that a peasant girl, the first one I run into here, is the lady Dulcinea; and if he doesn’t believe it, I’ll swear it’s true; and if he swears it isn’t, I’ll swear again that it is; and if he insists, I’ll insist more; and so I’ll always have the last word, no matter what.”
(Sancho Panza in Don Quixote Part II, Miguel De Cervantes)
Like Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Tom Ellis can find all the adventures he needs in picture books, but rather than chivalry, he finds his influence in the history of painting. Ellis studies old catalogues such as the Wallace Collection Catalogue of Pictures volume IV Dutch and Flemish and like Quixote, his study of the old masters helps him imagine he sees something quite different to what is before his eyes. Instead of a Virgin and child Ellis sees a bearded child complete with enormous member, being lovingly fondled by the virgin. A sleeping bore finds his hand buried deep in his trousers and a dutch woman becomes chinese. Figures from other paintings find themselves in new scenarios acting out their base needs in timeless landscapes painted in the flourish of a time past or future to be. Ellis paints many versions of the same set pieces, sometimes in black and white, next in colour or monoch rome. He paints and copies paintings from books, then defaces them with marker pen, drawing beards, glasses and cigarettes like some adolescent Caravaggio. He happily steals and appropriates then forges his own hand, making small studies into epic scaled copies. Since Tom Ellis realised the inherent nihilistic nature of painting he has plunged in head first and hasn’t come up for breath. Here he has found the tools with which to play out his project and the results of his foray are truly sublime, a truth, like Sancho Panza, that he will swear and swear again, always having the last word.
MOT INTERNATIONAL is pleased to present Tom Ellis’ second solo exhibition at the gallery. We are delighted to be exhibiting a series of new paintings and a brand new series of altered catalogue pages in which Ellis has used an eraser and pencil to redraw and alter old catalogue images. Both the new paintings and over-drawings, see Ellis able to marry humour and style in an effortless and yet investigative, celebration of painting.
Tom  Ellis was born in London in 1973 where he continues to live and work. Recent solo exhibitions include Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland, 2010; We Came Here To Get Laid, Not to Critique Dutch Culture, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, 2009; Get Me a Show In China, Space, London, 2009;  Wszystko/Everything, Czarna Gallery, Warsaw, 2008. Tom Ellis is currently showing at the Saatchi Gallery as part of Newspeak: British Art Now.
Tom Ellis
The Bitch
Oil and marker pen on canvas 50.5 x 40.5cm
Courtesy of MOT INTERNATIONAL, London
Unit 54 / 5th floor, Regents Studios
8 Andrews Road
London E8 4QN
T +44 (0)207 923 9561
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