Oil, acrylic, Spray on Canvas, brass and Stainless Steel
360 x 250 x 50 cm
George Little- Overdo
Ana Cristea Gallery, NY
Ana Cristea Gallery is pleased to present â€śOverdo,â€ť the first exhibition in the United States by artist George Little.
Little utilizes the metaphorical platform of the restaurant as a vehicle for painterly investigation. The title of George Littleâ€™s first US show suggests that the works on display may have been overcooked; perhaps too much time was spent in the kitchen. He has created a locale where presentation, visibility and comprehension begin to waiver, without diminishing entirely.
Within this system a group of parameters exists which connect the presentation of the finished work with the artistâ€™s creative process. The studio relates to the exhibition space as a kitchen to a dining room with leftovers and detritus often contributing to the final product. This connection provides a communal locality linking the viewer and the artist in unexpected ways. With works such as â€śNaperyâ€ť, â€śThe Waiterâ€ť, â€śScoffâ€™s Screenâ€ť and â€śMenu for a Better Life,â€ť the over-arching theme remains immanent despite the apparent abstraction.
The choice of the restaurant as setting and theme also reflects Littleâ€™s personal history â€“ he grew up in and around kitchens in Londonâ€™s Soho area. From the folds of a napkin to the way a menu ought to be opened, the source materials create an interrogation into the etiquette and construction of formal decorum within the art world and the service industry. Historically a site of unexpected conceptual activity, the restaurant as setting brings to mind a new idyll, as well as a jaded view of the past. Sensory details call forth pangs of nostalgia and the exoticism of European Modernism and cuisine in a single whiff. George Little presents his viewer with visions of the restaurant as a self-referential lifestyle.
There is a deep physicality within all of Littleâ€™s work, from his reliefs to his paintings. In this exhibition, Little invites us to peer through a window into a setting that is not quite what it appears to be. Via motifs, signage and iconography layers of meaning have been piled one on top of another, course after course. Cumulatively, his works appear to offer a new floor plan for the modernist bistro â€“ one that was doodled on a napkin, folded and discarded on a window seat table. We are the fortunate patrons who happen upon the napkin after he has left.
George Littleâ€™s work comes from a very internal place, under which there seems to be a discussion/struggle around formal etiquette and a historicized painterly etiquette.
Having recently graduated from The Royal College Of Art Painting, the work seems to be forming into a wider project with sculpture, video and performative installations becoming present. Using the restaurant as a metaphorical platform and activated site, the relation of availability (or unavailability) of subject becomes noticeable. Motifs, signage and iconography vey for foot-holding against an intuitive process of abstraction. A line is walked between pictorial autonomy and representational charge thats harks to post-war british painting, and the separation of objecthood and abstractville is discarded. Often yearning for the shimmer of european exoticism, they seem as faded postcard sent from the idyll or doodleâ€™s on a napkins at the Cafe Adolf Looâ€™s.
Plumbing a rewarding vein in recent British painting which adopts the sombre palettes and semi-abstraction of home-grown post-war movements, George Little's compelling practice likewise carries echoes of new Danish painting as typified by artists such as Alexander Tovborg.
Any sense of familiarity, however, is offset by the obvious presence of an enticing new voice; Little's signature concerns include a fascination with vintage print and the painterly adaptation of graphic effects such as ink overlays.
There's an intense focus, too, on the logistics of restraining decorative gesture and motif within highly controlled, deftly layered pictorial space: a tension between expression and craft that's both satisfyingly resolved and hard to resist.