This exhibition focuses on the work of three London based artists: Jack Lavender, Oliver Osborne and Marco Palmieri. All three take on classical concerns of the visual languages of abstraction, figuration and collage, each with their distinct vernacular. In different ways they adopt and reconfigure imagery and objects from the available oversaturated consumer image bank around them and use this to their own ends and desires, cross pollinating a wide range of sources. The three share a conceptual rigour of knowing the history of the formal languages of painting and sculpture and a lightness of touch in the way they navigate this territory.
Jack Lavender draws from a world of mass-produced objects, transforming their singular banality through their composition within such structures as grids and metal armatures. Sitting between the disciplines of painting, sculpture and collage, Lavender brings different elements together to create a new entity. Objects that would normally be the detritus of our lives are paired with high quality application and construction, retaining a bittersweet trace of their low origins, and re-imagined for their formal qualities within Lavender’s growing aesthetic lexicon.
In Oliver Osborne’s paintings, he explores the traditional remits of the discipline and takes up different positions within this. He employs straightforward modes in a clear, precise and pared back way, with the interruption of a third element of a cartoon transposed onto the surface of the painting, puncturing their formality. The cartoon, sourced from a German language textbook, is a sign for clarity and legibility, delivering its point in a second. In combination these actions or mechanisms grow more complicated and problematic and make investigating the orthodoxy of visual communication Osborne’s subject.
Marco Palmieri employs an iconography of refined leisure, echoing a bygone era, which he reduces to minimal gestural lines in order to evoke an image of a distinct sensibility; images are placed together in elegant arrangements, which float through the work like quickly sketched illustrations. With imagery both familiar from mass media and classical art history, Palmieri keenly activates the economy of the line and its means to communicate. Motifs printed on creased paper sheets imitate the delicate folds of a newspaper; elsewhere the easily recognisable icon of a classical head appears inverted and doubled, an image endlessly multiplying through time. Palmieri plays with the familiarity and ambiguity of his images on the canvas or page and what happens through their re-iteration.