Cole is pleased to present a new body of work by Eve Ackroyd for Art HK 11. Ackroyd’s paintings present figures within barely described surroundings, with planes of colour isolating and confining the groups and individuals. Their expressions are pensive and hopeful, although they betray an anxiety and disquiet. Others turn away, are concealed, or tip off the canvas, responding to some unseen desire. Their poses are committed and absolute, recalling the resolute and unerring expressions of the saints and martyrs of religious art. These figures seek some sort of salvation, although it is unclear to whom or what they reach out to.
The subjects are sourced from generic internet searches of words such as ‘religion’, ‘faith’, ‘exultation’ – figures plucked from the detritus of mass information and relocated into sparse vistas. Cultural theorist and radical political author Mark Fisher has discussed Jacques Derridas concept of ‘hauntology’ (or ‘a time out of joint’) in connection with particular musicians such as the British producer Burial, and their relocation of the past into the present. He connects this to the notion of ‘non-spaces’, a featureless temporality that has grown through the rapid expansion of time spent in cyberspace, social media and generic corporate environments. This ‘unmarked’ time collapses our cultural existence and has led to an ever-greater sense of detachment and placelessness in society. The subjects in Ackroyd’s paintings exist in these non-spaces – displaced, out of joint and adrift in unpunctuated time.
The absence and emptiness in these paintings speaks of a thwarted transcendence that suggests an anti-sublime; in looking for metaphysical or spiritual redemption, there is neither, just placelessness. This detachment in the works comments on an age in which individual fulfilment is sought through consumption, and personal happiness promoted through consumerism. Ackroyd’s paintings suggest the futility of such attempts, and question and confront our innate yearning for transcendence and meaning in a post-religious society.
Eve Ackroyd, Born 1984. Studied painting at Chelsea College of Art and Weissensee Academy, in Berlin. She was shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize 2010. Recent Shows include Told, Cole, London 2011, Underfoot, Clerkenwell Road, London 2010, Between Shadows, Concrete and Glass London and Par-a-dise, Dazed & Confused Gallery, London in 2008.