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Post Conceptual Art Practice -Part Two

Pryor, Angus (2012) Post Conceptual Art Practice -Part Two. Post Conceptual Art Practice. Part Two, January to December 2012, Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. Exhibition. ISBN 978-0-9559230-8-1. (KAR id:31664)




This second part of the New Directions exhibition at Canary Wharf in 2010) comprises both conceptual painting and sculpture. Featured artworks have been installed in public areas throughout the hotel, including the lobby, foyers and restaurant, to enable each piece to be contemplated at leisure. The exhibition will remain at the Grange Tower Bridge until the end of 2012, for viewing by all guests and public visitors to the hotel.

Plastic Propaganda’s initiative is to display work in a public non-gallery arena and thereby provide the artists with an opportunity to reach mass audiences who would otherwise not see their works. The essence of the hotel’s public spaces reproduces the large white cube environment of a gallery, which reacts directly to the artwork being shown here.

Review of the Grange exhibition by David Minton, Artist’s Newsletter

The hotel is not a gallery; the primary intentions of its itinerant inhabitants are not the study of Pryor’s work, which waits with suggestions, possibilities, opportunities, questioning us tangentially, in passing, and in passing again. Creatures of our time and the moment, we are formed by the everyday – wallpaper, fabrics, cutlery, sounds, continuous infusions of taste through habitual exposure. Pryor’s work partakes of this dialogue of objects, now cacophonous, now incessantly whispered. The passing visitor, the participant on a course, the delivery driver, may not be objectively aware of his or her experience, but the physical presence of the work is felt and remembered; in an hotel the works insinuate themselves into the (un)conscious. In contrast to the ‘in your face scale’ of the work, the painting engages, pointedly, the corner of the eye in an initial moment of encounter prior to language. There is a sense of looking for something in and by the work, a kind of cultural burglary. He breaks into painting like a burglar in a posh house, rummaging through it, piling up stuff as he goes. The best burglary is an exercise in educated taste and antisocial behaviour. What about this? Or this, and this? His working methods, his materials, have the feel simultaneously of not quite overindulgence, and pleasure that has made the nerve ends raw.

Pryor takes his influences by the hand and wanders off with them. Using colour not as a colourist, drawing not as a draughtsman, making marks in pursuit of experiences, he submits to and encourages paint’s desire to engulf, to reach its own limits, shapes, lines, movements, directions. Seeking their places, mark, form, colour, narrative, dance together and pull apart in a repeating dialectic of form and content, the physical work arising from insecurity and assertiveness in the presence of materials.

In making his marks, all kinds of objects are (im)printed on the surface of the canvas - birds, toys, leaves, vegetables, roadkill. Impression is physical and visual, marks both impressions and giving the impression of…. not quite mechanical reproductions, through the process of infilling of detail central to Pryor’s printing from found objects we are made to feel uncertain - there is just enough and not quite sufficient. The works are almost not painted, but still are made with paint, spread out, sorted onto the canvas. The painting technique one of pushing the stuff around, caressing and spilling, spraying and squeezing it onto and into line and shape. Wash, impasto, a blob here, a turd-like mound there, and then a line of them. Like overweight starlings before the roost, they manage to remain airborne but heavily. This is painting against the grain. Much work is done on the horizontal canvas, Pollock-slowly, as it were, and then raised to the vertical.

‘The Deluge’ is a painting on a painting. Foliage and ripples are evident, and maybe sky. Pryor gathers his image toward the centre of the canvas, hemming it in with angular brackets. The detritus of the deluge floats, here a ladder, there a tin can, some leaves, a writhing ochre shape. What might be decomposing food drifts around. Perspectival depth is suggested by the projecting red and green corner of some long defunct magic carpet. The degraded deluge of commodity floats prettily; there is comfort in decadence. Pursuit of pleasure released from moral constraint may be the ultimate freedom. Our desires stare back at us from the paintings; colours seduce, paint often like skin, unreflective, soft. In ‘Love and Death’, the browns, blacks, golds, encourage a frisson of unease. In stark contrast to his sometimes luscious use of colour, the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ is a cool monochrome. Black, white, grey, a severed hand, palm open, a toy hammerhead shark, now deflated, soft toys once the object of true delight, nothing could be so inappropriately named as this Memorial Garden. What look like hares fight in an archived frieze along the bottom of the work. Above them insects and above the insects, the toys. There is a real sense of ambivalence throughout, of clinging to a cliff-face with an almost overwhelming desire for blessed release. Pryor’s objects are in this sense defiant. The paint that smothers them draws our attention, echoes the children whose toys they once were. “Hey! Look!”. Pigmented fluid gently seduces, puts its prey at ease, settles a little death over its objects of desire; think with the body, feel with the mind. Working with the reluctance of one who feels the fear of his real desires, Pryor defies his work not to be painting.

Item Type: Show / exhibition
Subjects: N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
N Visual Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Angus Pryor
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2012 13:09 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Pryor, Angus.

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