Private View: Thursday 24th May 2012, 7.00-9.00pm
Paradise Row presents an exhibition by Tom Gidley of new paintings and sculptures themed around portraiture and representations of the human body. In this body of work Gidley looks at the perception of the self in relation to the destructive and regenerative forces of the natural world.
Gidley combines objects and paintings to create intriguing relations and playful juxtapositions, a web of connections forming an open ended narrative. Seen in the context of the faces around them, the objects could be read as devotional objects or totems, the physical manifestations of thought processes we aren't aware of. Totems, according to Levi Strauss, are chosen arbitrarily for the purpose of making the world a comprehensive and coherent classificatory system. In Gidley's work the system appears to be breaking down, reforming, making unexpected relationships. Working in a broad range of materials he describes these sculptures as 'future relics', objects from an impossible psychological archive or fetishistic collection.
In Gidley's paintings the figure is predominantly presented in isolation, as if in interior thought. Whether based on people he knows and invites to pose for him, archive images or historical artworks, something is always withheld, changed, and no one is fully present. His varied stylistic approach to painting emphasises the impersonality of people in paintings from any period, which are always parts of a construction, a shifting reflection of our wish to find individuality in depictions of individuals.
Gidley's chameleon approach suggests we are undergoing constant transformation with everything else in the natural world; our place in it and within ourselves never stable or fixed in time.