Exhibitions and Fairs

Nick Goss, Dolphin Express

Contemporary Fine Arts

16 Nov – 22 Dec 2018Grolmanstraße 32/3310623 Berlin - Charlottenburg

Take a virtual tour of the exhibition by clicking on the image above.

Nick Goss makes his paintings and drawings in a studio in Elephant and Castle, an unprepossessing area of Southwark, South London, consisting most notably of an agglomeration of major road arteries that carry vast volumes of people to and from central London and locations south. Most of the infrastructure dates from the 1960s. To call it brutalist would be to label it in a manner suggestive of adherence to a particular architectural creed. It is too shabby and generally incoherent to be distinguished so, though it does possess some iconic buildings of the period, including a massive exercise in multi-use town planning by the eminent Hungarian emigré modernist Ernó Goldfinger. The name of the area is derived from one of London’s famed coaching inns, and confirms the origin of place as one of transition, transience and travel.

Appropriately enough then that Goss’ body of work should be called Dolphin Express, a title appropriated from the moniker of a local taxi cab company. Thus the series of large scale paintings focus principally on people on the move, and the mostly nondescript places where they wait in between these various comings and goings.

Dolphin Express, 2018, pigment, oil and screenprint on linen, 180 X 230 cm

Consisting of oil and silkscreened passages, with large swathes of raw canvas punctuating the painted areas, the works possess a fleeting and evanescent quality, as if erasure and blank-space are afforded almost as much a role as the painted passages. The surfaces appear fragile and distressed, palimpsest-like, as if remnants of the narrative figuration have somehow degraded on the surface.

Southern, 2018, pigment, oil and screenprint on linen, 180 X 230 cm

Silkscreened patterns derived from locally sourced fabrics are combined in the compositions with photographic images. Such patterns can be see in the works Commute, Dolphin Express, and Southern, where they coalesce seamlessly with the depicted realism of ordinary folk going about their lives, and the simple interiors where such takes place. This layering of elements adds nuance and ambiguity to the image. Goss’ fleeting glimpses of observed reality are enriched by the many shades of visual and cultural references that abound. The screened patterns bring to mind the kaleidoscopic collision of planes and ellipses one might find in the works of Klee, or even Feininger. Yet the quotidian mundanity abounds in the depiction of huddled masses, a gloomy if not quite dystopian reading of modern life that recalls the kitchen-sink realism of the 1950s and 60s and its particularly British qualities of muttering disillusionment. This atmospheric greyness pervades Aquarium, where the pot plant assumes pride of place, and is emblematic of a Keep the Aspidistra Flying moment for Goss’ own petit bourgeois protagonists.

Commute, 2018, pigment, oil and screenprint on linen, 250 X 150 cm

Goss’ principal achievement rests in his mastery of the painted medium through unassuming restraint, where memory and dream seem intertwined with a most humdrúm reality without recourse to painterly bombast. The paintings are technically complex and highly sophisticated, possessed of a dry but also strangely lush beauty. Goss’ scenes endure, but in the compelling and not-quite-there mystery reminiscent of an almost entirely faded photograph, and in a way that causes us to question whether it is a glimpse of reality from a corner of one’s actual eye, or a conjured distant memory from the mind’s eye that shapes the image we see.

Aquarium, 2018, pigment, oil and screenprint on linen, 210 X 137 cm

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Contemporary Fine Arts

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Grolmanstraße 32/33
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