Thursday, 12 July 2012

Showcase: New paintings, Alexis Harding, London

Alexis Harding, 'Crack Tip (Unraveller)' 2012 (detail)
Oil and gloss on MDF, 244 x 122 cm
Mummery + Schnelle has just held a great new exhibition of the new paintings of Alexis Harding, who is developing his ingenious explorations in painting. 'Order and control are nothing but illusions.' lieve Harding is one of Britains most interesting painters working in abstraction today. Underlying even the most structured of appearances, randomness and chance are at the helm, and it is these concepts that prevail in the workings of London-based artist. Throughout Harding’s work, structures are shown to fail, grids collapse, and hard-edged systems give way to entropy. Jumping off from Abstract Expressionism and the works remind me of Clyfford Still and Gerhard Richter.

Alexis harding 'Ray' 2012
Oil & gloss paint on aluminium
300 x 100 cm
'Since graduating from Goldsmiths in the 1990s, Harding has been exploring the fundamental properties of paint as the medium for his work. In layering a calculated grid of household gloss upon a base of oil paint, the surface is allowed to slide around the canvas, collapse and fall in upon itself, at times reaching a state of complete destruction as the work crumples to the floor.'

The studio working practice is  is the most important, in his latest exhibition at Mummery + Schnelle, Harding has traded in the dichromatic grid that dominates many of his earlier works for a spectrum of colours, but the process is still the same. While the medium he works in may be paint, the act is a very sculptural one. First laying the paint on its canvas while flat on the floor, the artist then picks the work up and moves it about his studio – intermittently tilting, turning and adjusting as the paint slides around and only after a period of time fixing into place. While there is a great deal of intervention from the artist, the results are largely dependent on chance – how the work will react and how it will fall can be highly unpredictable.

Below is earlier work from 2009:
Alexis Harding 'Bouncers' 2009, oil and gloss on MDF

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