12 July – 7 August
From Kenya to Los Angeles a society is re-configured by its mythologies: TV, cartoons, graffiti extend the oral traditions. ‘Today I saw…’ rather than ‘Once upon a time there was…’ is the story-teller’s lapel-grabbing gambit. The fragmentary nature of contemporary narrative echoes the damaged frieze or disintegrating wall-painting we have more confidence in interpreting. The modern story unravels in the telling.
In each artist’s work there’s a strong – and literal – tie with the materiality of place. John Tiney’s ‘New Labour, the Value Paintings’ (made in Los Angeles and each with its bespoke bag commissioned from a local bag-maker) confronts sun-drenched, dreamed-up yet oddly fossilised de-racinated or de-faced admen’s alien characters with the language of gestural abstraction. Michael Armitage’s tropical canvases (made from Ugandan tree-bark cloth) entwine classical references with forest lianas – for both artists a secure and sophisticated view of a different world. Tales are made visible, conjured from traditions that have become mobile, global, new.