1st September - 29th September 2012
PV 1st September 6-8pm
3rd September - 29th September 2012
MOTINTERNATIONAL is delighted to present new work by Tom Ellis. In the centre of the gallery sit two hand-crafted viewing beds, the design incorporates a frame into which gridded gauze screens can be inserted, in order to view and modify the figure lying on the bed and facilitate its transcription to the canvas. Recalling the Renaissance process of grid drawing, these veiled beds simultaneously imply an objective functionality as well as an eroticism. The inherently human scale of this furniture and the intimations of accuracy contrast with the expanded gestures of Ellis’ larger paintings, in which scale is always the additional and disruptive protagonist.
Intimate and intense oil studies have been scaled up into larger acrylic paintings. This small scale practice provides the content and emotional dynamic at the heart of Ellis’ practice. The surfaces of the larger paintings are contiguous, they correlate with the initial sketches, but appear effortless and vestigial in comparison. Vestigial in that the original gestural marks persist but have lost their physical immediacy and expressive behaviour. The personal content is cooled and becomes latent, while the image takes on a more enigmatic and sustaining quality, corresponding to Ellis’ own basic philosophy that within emptiness resides opportunity. He has upholstered the viewing beds with fabric in the same shades as the paintings, again to reduce the significance and providence of his decisions, underlining that they are simply choices rather than needs.
The scientific concept of ‘vestigiality’ offers the example of the small muscles in human ears that remain despite having lost their expressive mobility, unable to flap or prick up. In this exhibition Ellis proposes to remove the heroism and fatalism that are characteristic of the Romantic movement while holding onto the features of it that he exhaustively enjoys and can make use of. As with the body of a woman on the viewing bed that leaves an impression of her weight on the mattress, something past has left its mark and maintains a presence. In Fatherhood Painting 3 a parental moment is constructed from abbreviated greyscale strokes and the over life-size burdening sentimentality of Newborn Gypsy Mother is disrupted by Ellis’s use of scale, such encounters become insistent, and Ellis uses this exhibition to call up these spirits and vestiges.
Tom Ellis (b. 1973, London) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Tom Ellis, Bloomberg SPACE, London (2012); The Vacuum, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland (2010) and Get me a Show in China, [SPACE], London (2009). Selected group exhibitions include Eros and Thanatos, Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig (2012); Newspeak: British Art Now, The Saatchi Gallery, London (2010); We Came Here To Get Laid, Not to Critique Dutch Culture, with Richard Parry and Clunie Reid, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam (2009) and Propaganda Machine, Serpentine Gallery, London (2007).