The gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition with Jonathan Wateridge - Monument, a group of paintings developed out of a period spent in Los Angeles in early 2013. These paintings continue the themes present in the constructed scenes of Wateridge’s earlier work, but also combine ideas and impressions from his recent experiences in America. As such there has been a process of emptying out and paring back. Fleeting, incidental, quieter moments have been used to heighten the staged simplicity of each environment. The work – while still in part on an epic scale – has also grown more intimate thereby placing a greater emphasis on the formal aspects of the paint itself.
Transitional areas such as lifts, garage doors or gates present a series of spaces where access is contained, held or denied. In Gate the matt blankness of the black gates offers only the merest glimpse of the private property beyond while in Garage Doors the doors remain suspended at the point of just opening or closing to reveal the dark recess of the interior that lies behind. Night Grass also prohibits the easy gaze of the viewer just as the metallic painted surface of Lift Doors holds the spectator at bay.
Equally the themes of unseen barriers to an outlying space are further echoed in the monumental paintings which will be shown in the downstairs gallery. Monument depicts a large stone sculpture seemingly hewn from the surrounding rock and partially obscured from behind. The view is reminiscent of the back of George Washington’s domed head carved into the stone façade of Mount Rushmore. In the huge canvas Man on Couch, a limp, marionette-like seated man (echoes of another President, this time Lincoln’s Memorial in Washington D.C.) appears held in limbo, lost in thought and waiting. Although painted on a giant scale both works possess a degree of intimacy. Suspended in time they project both a monumental presence and familiarity of private space.