‘The Lazy and Failing Pursuit of Vanessa Evuns’. [enlarge]

‘The Lazy and Failing Pursuit of Vanessa Evuns’.

REVIEW

Tom Wilmott

The A.M.U.T.I Gallery
6 June 2007 to 7 July 2007

Reviewed by: Anna Hales »

The A.M.U.T.I Gallery is currently host to the work of Tom Wilmott, whose paintings and photographs present an engaging look at the immediacy of experience.

Wilmott's new body of work maintains strong visual connections to previous pieces, however the works in this show are distinctly more extroverted. Whereas in the past the work has sensitively portrayed introspective concerns, these new pieces tend away from the personal and instead address elements of the everyday - of mass imagery and the differing effect it can have on the individual. By appropriating recognisable motifs such as billboard advertisements and iconic mug shots Wilmott has created a series of visually stunning artworks. The relationship between image and title is a critically important element to experiencing Wilmott's work: The image alone needn't necessarily be profound, nor the title, but the combination of the two can be surprisingly accosting.

These new works are less precious than previous works in terms of the surface detailing, which here presents an instant sense of brisk, supple animation. Wilmott's aesthetic considerations are largely invested in creating attractive combinations of colour, which has meant altering and enhancing the colours of his original selected images. The visual experience is heightened, and so too is one's awareness of the momentary nature of pleasure. These works indulge in pleasure for pleasure's sake, and it is this very notion of instant satisfaction that is integral to both the internal and external dynamic of Wilmott's work.

‘The Lazy and Failing Pursuit Of Vanessa Evuns' is appropriated from a recently demolished Finsbury Park billboard advertisement for Rowans Bowling Alley: An overtly sexual, and somewhat cheap looking woman lays on the floor of the alley luring customers into this apparently seedy hang-out. Wilmott has removed the inevitable mundanity of such a long-standing image, by creating a painterly re-advertisement of the original. This woman has become an emblem for a certain time and place, and has obviously come to signify different things to the different people who have passed her by. Now, her scantily-clad body glows in crimson hot-pants out of Wilmott's dark canvas, and yet, before the viewer has the opportunity to follow her contours, they are accosted by a rather provocative, almost indecent, glitter-covered bowling ball. One cannot help but smile in the face of such visual indulgence. ‘Evuns', incidentally, is an anagram of Venus, which adds a humorous, albeit dismal, realisation to the image: The possibility of finding Venus in Rowans is laughable, and yet, it is consistently through the advertising medium that we are led to believe otherwise. Wilmott is laughing with us at our susceptibility. 

These images create an interesting duality between humour and resignation to a deadpan existential condition. This melange is evident most clearly in Wilmott's photograph titled: ‘The Universal Church of God Damn Fraud'. We are presented with a billboard advertising the highly questionable ‘talents' of the healer/spiritualist Michael Reid. As layers of his advert have fallen away, the ironic image of a sneering Lucifer has been revealed. The photograph of this peeling billboard is displayed in a cheap reproduction frame, which serves to further exaggerate the false claims of Reid's advertisement.

Wilmott has presented a multifaceted collection of images that show us ‘how it is' - and furthermore, he does this with both humour and style.

Writer detail:
Anna Hales is a writer based in London. MA Aesthetics and Art Theory.

anna.hales@gmail.com

Venue detail:
A.M.U.T.I Gallery »
10 Woburn Walk, LONDON WC1H 0JL

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