Tom Gidley

The Abundant Throat

3 November - 8 December 2012

The Abundant Throat

Diana Stigter is pleased to announce Tom Gildey’s second solo show at the gallery. Gidley’s work is about man’s relationship and conflict with nature. Whether painting from photographs of people he knows, found images, or historical artwork that have affected him,  Gidley’s subjects all undergo a transformation that changes their original meaning. A new hierarchy is introduced, as they drift into focus and away again, just as the process of memory and remembering. The title of the exhibition: “The Abundant Throat” could refer to unprocessed speech, a pouring forth of spontaneous words (or food, or ideas) before they are fully gestated. An uncontrolled growth or projection, a thought blossoming, never ending. This circularity is important to the work as a whole, as a constant psychological mirroring.

When we enter the gallery our first focus goes to  “After the Flood”. This painting, based on Ford Madox Brown’s iconic Pre-Raphaelite work “The Last of England” (1855), is one of the works derived from historical art sources, painted on aluminium and covered in resin. The misconception of the original’s meaning, what had remained in the memory from that first impression, is used as the starting point. The resin immerses the work in a ‘soup’, fogging the image and the original meaning, in the way memory and time work also. The image is an open mouth, or an eye, flooded with discordant information. With the sculpture “The Abundant Throat” placed in front of it, there is a mirroring process, as if the two were constantly spilling back and forth to each other.

Most of the paintings are accompanied by ceramic sculptures. Like for example “Initiates”. The source for this work is a still from a short 1960s film in which a young boy describes with touching enthusiasm and articulacy his experiences with LSD while a friend sits beside him. The drug was administered to them during rituals at the short lived drug commune led by Timothy Leary in a Millbrook mansion. Here they appear separated, immersed in their own thoughts, both facing a ‘ruined’ object, part sex toy, part shrine, part architectural object and relic. The title is a play on words – Initiates applying potentially to the boys themselves, and / or the object ‘initiating’ something in them – something just beginning, something in the past. “Insult by Swans” is another work of which the title is based on mis-remembering. Gidley only realized afterwards that he must have been thinking of Wallace Steven’s poem “Invective Against Swan”, which he didn’t remember reading. The words of the poem could be said to relate to the work also. The painting is based on a photo of a woman he knows, but has never met.

In the Backspace we have a collaborative project by Tom Gidley and Collier Schorr. Three collages of Schorrs are presented with three ceramics of Gidleys that play off each other, acting partly as quotation marks, or projections into reality by the collages themselves. The title is a quote from the Russian novel “The Case of Comrade Tulayev”, by dissident writer Victor Serge, a classic of the Stalinist era. It suggests a transformation, a physical reaction to a psychological state. This and the political chaos described in the novel relate to the central object, Gidley’s ceramic sculpture “Inner Despot”, but also to the strong, but poetic collages of Schorr, in which androgyny plays a major part