From floorboards and books, to cupboard doors and makeshift canvases, Jim McElvaney’s portraits emerge from the surfaces of found materials and objects, some of which were salvaged from the gallery building itself, as if released from the prison of a material world.
Each face has been taken from the artist’s personal collection of found images, gathered obsessively from photojournalism, film and other popular media sources; plucked from obscurity only to be re-imagined in paint, ink, charcoal and collage. This image-led process creates portraits that act as a reminder of how faces call out to us and how, within their expressions, we recognise our own.
With his fluent yet irregular style these images are as much arranged, as they are random. The expressive gestures in Jim’s painting and the constructive lines of his drawing present themselves as evidence of private moments, achieved via an emotionally responsive method, giving each piece a personal depth suffused in character. Smooth thick paint merges into sharply penned shapes, whilst a line of broken crayon gets lost behind a drip of ink, haphazardly creating an intriguing blend of styles and methods that play with traditional representations of physiognomy.
In what will be Jim's fourth solo show (after ‘Plans Create Problems’ at Lazarides' Outsiders gallery in Newcastle and both 'Stop Looking at the Walls, Look Out The Window' and ‘If It Doesn’t Make Sense, That’s Fine’ here in Brighton with us), White Teeth will deliver an exciting glimpse into the mind of one of Brighton’s most enamoured young artists, confidently showcasing contemporary portraiture that invites the viewer to greet each character with a curious familiarity.
The opening night is Friday the 27th of February 6pm and everyone is welcome.... please RSVP either by email to the gallery, or by joining the Facebook event. You can sign up to our mailing list to receive a preview of the work before the show opens.
Posted by James