Dan McDermott | Transition at Alon Zakaim
27 January 2014 § 1 Comment
Dan McDermott recently exhibited the excellent Lumiere Project at High House Gallery (see post here) where he created a body of work around the first piece of film ever made – the Lumiere brothers one minute film of a train arriving at Ciotat (below).
For the latest exhibition at the Alon Zakaim Gallery in London’s Mayfair he has largely revisited the same era – the end of the 19th century – where he take a look at the impressionist and later artists through the filter of the present day.
Presented as if seen on a TV blurred and distorted by interference, groundbreaking works such as Manet’s Olympia and Degas’ Absinthe Drinker take on new meanings. Referencing the contemporary proliferation of images the spectator is reminded of familiar works which may have previously only been seen through printed or filmed images. Each work therefore becomes a multi-layered experience – the original, studied by the artist through secondary media, is altered and turned back into a painting.
Whilst marking a new direction the paintings retain McDermott’s characteristic cinematic style (as in The Proposal pictured below). In Manet’s scandalous Olympia, he extracts the face of the reclining nude to create an ambiguous portrait; her nudity is implied rather than revealed, the image appearing as a contemporary film still.
He reworks Edgar Degas’s Singer with a Glove focuses on the facial features of the soprano vocalist, the subdued palette giving a haunting, melancholic hue. The varying bands of colour, also evident in After Georges Seurat, mimic the fracturing of a paused image on a television screen again leading the viewer to see this as a snapshot of a work extracted from a wider context. These layers are increased further the artist having first taken photographs of the paused imagery before painting in oil.
McDermott analyses contemporary media and our perception of it. A Picasso originated as a film still of Pablo Picasso preparing a monumental painting. A Warhol and Another Warhol again originated as film stills, referencing a favoured media of Andy Warhol, the pivotal Pop artist who revolutionised our view of mass produced objects and imagery, elevating them to the status of high art.
An excellent small show, unfortunately deserving more space to ‘breathe’ than available in Zakaim’s small gallery is nevertheless worth catching before it ends.
Transmission is on at Alon Zakaim Fine Art, 30 Cork St. London W1S 3NG
Until 29 January 2014, opening hours 9 – 6, Monday – Friday.
McDermott’s work may also be purchased through High House Gallery.