Vertigo showcases some artistic highs!

Story by Jack Foley

AN EXHIBITION of new works by Ross Hansen and Julian Wakelin entitled Talking Painting, in which the two artists (who share a studio in the East End) explore the language of painting and its limitations, is now showing at Vertigo in Shoreditch until May 28.

Both artists approach their work from the same starting point, a desire to work within the tradition of painting yet challenge and question the relevance of different painting languages. This is attempted and achieved through juxtapositions of surface and form or through the removal of pictorial norms.

Hansen's hyper-real documentary style paintings of animals in their natural habitats defy convention with their combination of painting techniques or overlaid text. They invite the viewer to question the point at which they find meaning in the practice of painting, continually testing and teasing.

Some works have the 'truth' of a photograph (such as the Halcyon Days, oil on canvas, pictured left), seemingly a simple transference of information from photograph to paint but include text that cunningly references the image itself. Others are painted with thick daubs of paint to create gaudy picture book representations which sit uneasily with the viewer.

This exhibition is Hansen's third at Vertigo since he completed his MA at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1997.

Wakelin's paintings, on the other hand, evolve through small drawings and scribbles which hint at a physicality without referring directly to the outside world (an example, entitled Untitled (Blue Painting) oil on canvas 2002, is pictured right).

The drawings are transferred to canvas where they are edited, some forms are removed others left to survive so the images evolve with both painterly aspects and drawn elements. This allusion to graffiti like text, maps, diagrams or cartoons suggest ideas of memory, recognition and permanence while inviting the viewer to enter into a cryptic dialogue.

Wakelin has shown in group shows around the UK and features in several large collections including Leeds Metropolitan University and Levitt Bernstein Architects, London.

About Vertigo...

v e r t i g o is situated in the burgeoning Shoreditch area which is fast becoming the gallery district of the East end.

Its aim is to showcase artists from all over Europe as well as London. As such, the gallery collaborates with galleries in Brussels and Berlin, while a second vertigo space is planned for Milan.

According to its website, vertigo 'exhibit both up-and-coming and more established artists reflecting the most interesting and succesful trends in contemporary art'. Click here for more details...