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Boo Ritson: Back-Roads Journeys

Exhibition preview

SCENES of small-town America come to life in Back-Roads Journeys, an exhibition of new work across two venues – Alan Cristea Gallery and Poppy Sebire – by British artist Boo Ritson.

Back-Roads Journeys begins in ‘The Diner’, an installation at Alan Cristea Gallery, where visitors are introduced to the Diner Waitress, unhappy in her job, waiting on the Trucker’s table; he’s stopped by for a quick burger.

Their portraits are set alongside still lifes of fast food, a new series of screenprints on plexiglass of classic American diner food and a triptych interior scene made familiar through American road movies.

The love story moves to ‘The Gas Station’ at Poppy Sebire’s gallery where we see the Diner Waitress who, having quit her job for a new life in the South, is hitching a lift with her friend the Trucker. Here, the narrative evolves with the addition of new characters associated with life on an American highway.

Boo Ritson depicts characters and still lifes drawn from her own imagined narratives merged with borrowed Americana. For each piece she paints her subject in a thick emulsion and then has the scene photographed whilst the paint is still wet. The resulting image sits somewhere between painting, sculpture, performance and photography.

Ritson has always located her work in an American cultural context and has been fascinated by the process and by the history of painting. In these new works at Alan Cristea Gallery and Poppy Sebire, she introduces her first ‘unfinished’ subjects, each one defined as much by what is absent as what the viewer sees.

Ritson (b.1969) was recently commissioned to paint the band, The Maccabees, for their new album cover. A new Land Securities public commission will be installed in the foyer of Portland House, Victoria, in October. A retrospective museum show alongside Idris Khan and Ori Gersht, travelled from the Centro Andaluz de Fotografía, Almeria, to the Convento de Santa Iñes, Seville, in 2008 – 09.

Ritson has also recently donated works to the Harefield Benefit Auction, Shelter’s House of Cards campaign and The Blank Canvas Project for Amnesty International and The Big Issue. She has work in international public collections around the world including Tishman Speyer Art Collection, New York, Titze Collection, Paris, Saatchi Collection, London, The Chadha Art Collection, The Netherlands, The Zabludowicz Collection, London, and Jay Jopling’s Collection, London.

Back-Road Journeys is on display until November 21, 2009.

Alan Cristea Gallery, 31 & 34 Cork Street, London, W1S 3NU.

Tel: 020 7439 1866

Times: Monday to Friday from 10am to 5.30pm, Saturday from 11am to 2pm.

Poppy Sebire, 36 North Audley Street, London W1K 6ZJ.

Times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm or by appointment.