HOWARD DYKE ‘New Emperors’

3 – 26 June 2015

Howard Dyke’s new paintings come from the total immersion that is the artist’s studio. After long observation figures emerge, figures which are themselves constructed, collaged after long reflection from the painted materials strewn around him. As with all collage, each element’s origins are readable as from ‘elsewhere’ but here as painted fragments, their sources are the previous acts of the artist, conceptually re-framed from past gesture and impulse, an elsewhere in time as much as space.

The paintings we have before us are in fact palimpsests of the artist’s actions, dismembered over time and re-assembled to inhabit new spaces within a new framework. It is the Frankenstein re-structuring of the figure not just within the canvas/es but within our cognitive process (simultaneously dissonant and affirmative) that puts us in constant flux before Dyke’s work.

Each of the three works on display here is in a different state; not of resolution, all are resolutely finished, but of presentation. One, ‘New Emperor’ floats almost unattached to the gallery space, a second ‘No Riot’ is stapled to the back wall and turns a corner, as though unscrolling its grand narrative, while the smallest (relatively speaking) ‘New Hope’ is stretched and although not exactly portable, accepts other environments, other contexts. As with the majestic sweep of paintings forming ‘The Triumphs of Caesar’ at Hampton Court, moving alongside you become one of the crowd but here also part of the procession itself, momentarily incorporated into the painting.

The huge scale of the work is not a question of domination but generosity, allowing the viewer at every turn a new reading, alternatives that are nevertheless always posited around a liminal figuration, a fleeting beauty.


Howard Dyke – lives and works in London
Essay – Law of Surprise by Matthew Collings 2013 link here
Solo shows at Charlie Dutton & Vigo
Collections include – Saatchi, David Roberts, Simmons & Simmons, Beth De Woody & John Jones