Alastair Gordon’s recent work strongly references a tradition of illusionistic painting that proliferated in Northern Europe from about 1600. A specific form of illusionism called quodlibet (what you will). From here he paints an array of selected objects that on first glance appear to be ‘pinned’ or ‘taped’ in low relief. Certain questions emerge about the craft of the artist, representation and the artist’s materials.

At first these are paintings about paintings; images that oscillate between artefact and artifice. American poet and literary critic, Susan Stewart argues: “We need and desire souvenirs of events that are reportable, events whose materiality has escaped us, events that only exist through the invention of narrative.” To Gordon, even the process of painting is a reportable event. Materials involved in the making of a painting that otherwise would be disgarded are here celebrated.

The paintings are presented as a partial or incomplete inventory of the artists studio and materials leftover at the end or very beginning of the painting process. On closer inspection they reveal themselves to be a meticulous illusion, a trompe l’oeil deception rendered in oil paint on wood. The notion of authenticity is central to Gordon’s artistic enquiry. He finds himself looking for evidence of ‘the real thing’; for the craftsman’s hand on wooden drawing boards or the singular mark of an unknown author on a blank piece of paper, as Jean Baudrillard wrote in The System of Objects: “We are fascinated by what has been created…because the moment of creation cannot be reproduced.”

Alastair Gordon is artist-in-residence for Departure Arts Centre in East London. Recent solo shows include Husk Gallery, East London (2013) and Carmelite Cafe at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow, London (2013). In the last month Alastair has been selected for several national art prizes and group exhibitions including Oriel Davies Open in Powys, The Open West 2014 at The Wilson in Cheltenham, Shoosmiths Art Prize in Milton Keynes. He is also currently exhibiting at Dovecot Galleries in Edinburgh as part of the Leith School of Art 25th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition.

Works feature in several international collections including Landmark plc (London), the Ahmanson Collection (Los Angeles), Royal Bank of Scotland Collection and Glasgow School of Art Alumni Collection.

MA Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Arts, 2012. BA Fine Art, Painting from Glasgow School of Art 2002.

Bearspace Gallery
152 Deptford High Street
London SE8 3PQ United Kingdom
Ph. +44 (0)20 86948097

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Related images

  1. Alastair Gordon, Sacrament VI
  2. Alastair Gordon, Sacrament III
  3. Alastair Gordon, Sacrament VIII
  4. Alastair Gordon, Vibac XII
  5. Alastair Gordon, Vibac XVIII
  6. Alastair Gordon, Vibac XIII