Alexander James Pollard
Opening: Sat 22 September 2018, 6-9pm
The works reveal his desire to reconnect with a “clairvoyant” painting, first explored by the artist as a pupil at the Brighton Steiner School in the 1980’s. Rudolf Steiner believed that painting could provide a gateway to something more than just a simple message. The methods associated with clairvoyant painting can be loosely described as a form of wet on wet painting, allowing the artist to intuitively tease out an image without having a rigid plan or relying too heavily on outlines or linearity to define forms.
Pollard transfers this wet on wet or ‘alla prima’ technique from watercolour (used universally in Waldorf Steiner Schools) to oils, exploring mythic and archetypal imagery that echoes repetitive and ritualistic art from varying time periods and histories within world painting.
A face, a dinosaur, savannah animals, a fictional creature or hyperstitional objects such as the piltdown man skull emerge through an alchemical and experimental process, allowing the artist to draw new associations between seemingly disparate references and forms, moving elegantly between figuration and abstraction.
Pollard paints with elan, choosing to weave imagery relating to mythic subjects such as the Beast of Bevendean, the Australian thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) and the ever-present cultural symbol of the dinosaur together as magical archetypes that ultimately ask us to reconsider the role and potential of myth in contemporary society.
The exhibition was accompanied by a series of public workshops entitled, ‘The Clairvoyance of Painting’, as well as a publication that features a full-length interview with curator Linsey Young (Tate Gallery) and an essay exploring some of the themes and ideas within the exhibition by Dr. Craig Staff (Reader at University of Northampton).
Gallery image credit: Nina Shen-Poblete
His MPhil titled A Genealogy of Bad Painting – Legacies, Soft Objects and Networks was undertaken part-time from 2012-17 at Goldsmiths College, London. Pollard was a curator for two years at Transmission gallery, Glasgow between 1999 and 2001. In 2005 Pollard represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale. Other solo exhibitions include: Hot Lava, Project Room, Glasgow (2012); Collaborations, Sorcha Dallas Gallery, Glasgow (2010); Tea-Leaf Demeanour, Whitechapel Project Space, London (2008) and Black Marks, Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh (2007). Group exhibitions include Counter Facture at Luhring Augustine, New York in 2007, the Santorini Biennale in 2012 and The Irregular Correct – New Art from Glasgow at the Fremantle Art Centre, Fremantle, Australia (2012). Pollard lives and works in London.
‘Paleo Fauvism’ by Alexander James Pollard
You can purchase a copy of Alexander James Pollard’s publication here.