25 May – 30 June 2012
74a Newman Street, London W1T 3DB
Open Tuesday – Friday 11am – 7pm, Saturday 11am – 6pm
Tom Gidley’s current exhibition at Paradise Row is immediately engaging. Walking into the gallery I was struck by the impression of some half-concealed narrative behind the positioning of paintings and objects which I was not entirely privy to. Crudely crafted sculptures predominantly made from clay and cardboard accompany portraits of somewhat eerie characters – exactly painted but given a soft focus and often partially smudged out. Gidley is a child of the 70’s and this can be felt in the scenes and faces of people he paints. Situated just this side of kitsch for the most part the figures embody a kind of Englishness of 30 years ago: oddly familiar, faces of the past. The objects that accompany them can be seen to relate to the paintings in a number of interesting ways. They are abstractions, physically manifesting some element of the character or situation that is kept secret from the viewer, they can be read as daemons, serving to help define the person’s character or personality. They also feel like props in a peculiar drama, significantly arranged and sometimes left to the side in the gallery space. Gidley employs a wide range of media and varied stylistic approaches to painting to achieve the slightly kitsch and haunted impression he seeks to imbue and I believe he succeeds. This is a beautiful show- on for another week only- and well worth a visit.
Image: From The Corner Of Your Eye To The Corner Of The Room And Back Again (Lower ground floor Installation View), 2012, Paradise Row, London. Courtesy the artist and Paradise Row.