Dexter Dalwood

Orientalism

May 12 – June 23, 2012

Opening: Friday May 11. 17.00 – 20.00

David Risley Gallery is proud to present our second solo exhibition of new paintings by Dexter Dalwood.When Dexter Dalwood looks in the mirror, he sees white noise rendered from the details of a 17th century etching. As an artist he holds up a mirror to the audience that attempts to be—conversely—subjective as concept and objective as painting.Further, Dalwood takes up the challenge: how to make paintings that maintain pleasure whilst also being of contemporary significance. That is, how to continue a tradition that is linked with privilege and leisure whilst upholding the ambition to make us think. The challenge is self-explanatory; painting offers many ornamental pleasures, but the reality of human struggle—'significance'—is far from ornamental. Artists have always resisted the role of entertainer, jester or ornament maker, but to attempt to inject significance is to risk biting the proverbial hand.‘…the key notion of Orientalism cannot be confronted without a critical analysis of the particular power structure in which these works came into being. For instance, the degree of realism (or lack of it) in individual Orientalist images can hardly be discussed without some attempt to clarify whose reality we are talking about.’ Linda Nochlin, The Politics of Vision, 1989. Be it in the studio, at home or out, 'reality' seems to happen elsewhere. An overarching motif of these paintings is the white noise, which Dalwood calls an ‘expanded space for occupation’, TV without a signal. By day the painter is alone (working) in the studio. At a certain moment 'reality' filters through via the news. 'Reality' is an image conjured over white noise, as the painted image is conjured over blank canvas. Does any of it exist? Another motif is the reflected—hence, still further mediated—image of a mosque that could signify a middle-eastern country, perhaps Libya or Iraq. Dalwood avoids specificity but our recognition, schooled by media images, is immediate. The subject signified is outside the frame of the image painted. It is literally not there, only reflected. If the unconscious is structured like a language then Dalwood demonstrates that good painting is structured likewise.Dexter Dalwood (Bristol, UK 1960). Dalwood studied at St. Martins School of Art and at the Royal College of Art, London. His work has been shown in many important exhibitions including show of new British art, Die Young Stay Pretty, ICA, London, 1998, Neurotic Realism, 1999, Saatchi Gallery in London. 2002 Sydney Biennial, Days Like These (Tate Triennial), 2003. “Dexter Dalwood", a major survey show, Tate St Ives, 2010. (FRAC Champagne - Ardenne, Reims, France and CAC Malaga, Spain). Dalwood was short­listed for the 2010 Turner Prize. A major solo show will be held at Centre Pasquart, Biel, Switzerland in 2013.