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Millennium, St Ives 9/5/09 - 1/6/09
Rupert White and Jesse Leroy Smith
Although there is something rock 'n' roll about Jesse Leroy Smith's new paintings, their titles reference classical civilisation. 'Mascara (Knossos)' is disturbing, with one eye whited out and the other having red make-up applied to its rim. Is this a comment upon sexuality and gender, adult choices, or identity? The woman's aluminium hair could be a cowl and this could be a portrait or a projected image. 'Minoan Girlfriend' has a Francis Bacon quality: there is distortion and grotesqueness, and the character's appliance of cosmetics seems self-invasive. 'Ancestor (Reprised)' holds the viewer's gaze to the inward-seeing eyes of the man; his raw, animal-like hands held to his beard.
Jesse Leroy Smith and Andy Harper
'Bomb' by Rupert White is an animated .gif created from random letters and digits, thrice presented in the form of an ASCII drawing, a digital video and flick book. His 'Tree (after Fox Talbot)' is an engaging piece which uses one of the first photographs ever taken as its source material. 'Tree Form' on first glance looks like a natural sculpture; perhaps even a found branch – but then the eyes settle upon the piece one realises that the contours are completely man-made: the branch having been completely dismantled and reassembled again by the artist. White's work engages one's heart and mind and opens both subtle and powerful plateaus of thought.
Andy Harper and David Kemp
Andy Harper's paintings such as 'Neuronic Tide', 'Parallel Botany' and 'The Line of Ornament' are like travelling to a strange, claustrophobic land where a Victorian scientist works with his microscope to documents flora and fauna, with no outside horizons. His works have a similar air to the glass domes that house pinned insects; they bring you in and disturb. The intent and intensity of colour and the absolute and magnified focus has possibilities of hallucination, of Castaneda discovery, of reaching a terrifying yet illuminating source.
David Kemp and Rupert White
David Kemp's masks play around with fiction; they transport us to pre-dawns and ancient societies whilst being composed of modern found materials and often sporting ironic titles such as 'Panic Attack' or 'Honkey Dance Mask'. 'Men's Society' is a cheeky little number complete with goitre eyes and ever smiling teeth. 'Released Spirit' resembles a blowfish; perhaps the true mystics of Babylon returning to swim in the tides of now.
Linda Cleary 8/6/09
Click here for link to 'Bomb' on-line by Rupert White. May take several seconds to download and play.
Other works can be seen at http://www.millenniumgallery.co.uk/past.htm