‘Slippage at The Post_Institute’
A review of Slippage: Performative Utterances in Painting, a group show at Post_Institute curated by Lucy Von Goetz and Oliver Morris Jones (5 — 26 April 2018), published by ArteViste.
The review focussed on the exhibition’s themes of painting’s relationship to language, new modes of representation engendered by soft technologies and digital media, and the aesthetic fabric of the urban city.
“Similarly provoking a sense of digital photorealism are the paintings of Martine Poppe. Ethereal palettes of cantaloupe, sky blue and china give her cloudscapes an opal effect of dizzying beauty. Approached head on they appear emphatically flat, however, glimpsed from an angle they acquire a pearlescent sheen, revealing a meticulously uniform pattern of crested brushstrokes, a style not unlike the rich impasto of Erich Heckel’s Hafenbahn im Winter (1906) or the subtle dynamism of Gerhard Richter’s Grau (Grey) (1970), presented here with an eerie depthlessness, accursed to the logic of a screen.
Sparsed throughout the exhibition are a handful of Poppe’s sculptural works: photographic prints dipped in resin and moulded into ‘Tumbleweed’ balls. In contrast to their predominantly wall-hung surroundings the various tumbleweeds are an aphoristic expression of the contemporary materiality of images—a sentiment echoed in her choice to lay bare the support frame of her paintings, an art-historical quip reminiscent of Jasper John’s two balls or Fontana’s infamous slice, albeit with a wholly contemporary manifestation; a technique similar to the transparent canvas used in Antoine Langenieux’s ‘Assemblage’ paintings—images somewhat indicative of their corollary Instagram feeds and tap screens.
The only other sculpture on show belongs to artist Mike Ballard. A toxic green form of repurposed hoarding and timber, laced with splatters and trims of violet—a minimalist icon similar to those of Micheal Dean, evoking the analogous palette of Nike’s electric green sportswear, a reconfiguration of inner-urban fashion through a nascent post-industrial lens. Described by Ben Tuffnell as “a kind of illegible urban language”, the work reflects on the aesthetics of graffiti, the city and their contingent symbiotic fabric—a matrix similarly explored by contemporaries such as Ralph Hunter-Menzies, KristianTouborg or David Von Bahr.
Ballard’s 2-D works elicit the same territories of urban aesthetics—their mixture of industrial grit, photocopy toner and raw abstraction juxtaposed to the surrounding works by Konrad Wyrebek and Ry David Bradley, two artists that, in contrast, draw explicitly from the online world. The former, Wyrebeck, creates large multi-media paintings of corrupted .jpeg files—a series titled ‘Data Error’—which bounce between net-native nostalgia and ecological anxiety. Whilst the latter, Bradley, uses digital brushes to c&p once-oblique images into wonderfully abstract compositions of artificial flora, echoing the kitsch chic of post-internet tropes that endlessly circulate from image board to image board.”