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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the art, art and culture category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

Jackie Anderson And Toby Messenger

If you’re in Glasgow, run down to Intermedia on King Street right this minute to look at new work by my friend Jackie Anderson, who is showing alongside Toby Messenger.

Here’s the little text I wrote for the show:

Jackie Anderson paints people in places, Toby Messenger paints the places in people.

Anderson’s portraits dispense with the relationship between artist and sitter, catching her subjects unawares, presenting their most private moments, those spent alone in public. These are works full of movement, too, sometimes doubling a figure to catch a shift in expression, sometimes painting only the place that her subject has been, will be, or, even, might never be. The public spaces through which Anderson’s subjects pass are reduced on her canvases to thin shadows and abstracted forms, just as her subjects pass by buildings, cash machines and doorways without seeing them, their surroundings rendered invisible by familiarity. This not only serves to foreground, figuratively and literally, the people painted, it also further absents Anderson from her work as a painter of portraits; the result is a communion between subject and viewer as private as the fleeting moments she has captured.

Messenger’s work is, for the most part, unpopulated, but he tackles landscape at a tangent, matching Anderson’s slippery approach to portraiture. In works made on daily walks in Sienna, always along the same route, Messenger is looking from the corner of his eye, turning his attention to the forms and spaces others might miss - he sees the curve of a roundabout, or the gap in a fence, ignoring grand architecture, blind to sweeping vistas. These are drawings of the spaces that enter memory, but are never remembered; the spaces, perhaps, that reveal more about a place than we realise. In the other series here, the quotidian again fills the frame. There are views from Messenger’s studio window, or chance glances around his working space. Here representation is almost, but not quite, irrelevant, with form and colour worked at for their own sake. These paintings are made not to describe, but because they must be made, like this.

On the surface, the work before you could not be more different. Anderson is ever precise, light, recording; Messenger moves heavy paint, suggesting, transforming. Beneath those different surfaces, though, both work to reveal the in between.

Posted at 2pm on 25/06/05 by Jack Mottram to the art, art and culture category.
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