AirSpace Gallery
West Midlands

The current exhibition at the AirSpace Gallery gives another twist to the status of the celebrity. A mixture of smiling and disgruntled faces greets you as you enter the gallery space; familiar faces such as Jade Goody and Victoria Beckham are painted with such bright and vivid colours that they take on a garish and cartoon quality. The faces have been removed from their normal context and transformed into merely portraits, no longer the struggling celebrity their faces and features can be considered without the blaring headlines or ridiculous sub stories of a glossy magazine. The headlines are available as the titles of the work, but by being removed from their usual context they become even more ludicrous and gruesome; a fair comment on the trashy magazines that concoct stories out of nothing.

The backgrounds of the paintings have a still life quality, carefully placed items and stripes highlight or clash with the subject offering further insight and references to Vermeer, with emphasis on the earring detail. Other paintings such as ‘I saw Jack on holiday and I thought; Jesus Christ what did I see in you’ show marks where parts of the painting have been re-painted, or perhaps the whole painting has been re-done. Layers of paint and obvious changes to the arrangement references a restoration process but also points to the change in status when one is considered a ‘celebrity’; what we see is a mask hiding the real person and the real life.

With the addition of ‘A short interview with myself by myself’ we gain insight into the art work, but only as much as the artist is willing to give; without interrogation or awkward questions from an external interviewer. The result is an interesting twist on the artist statement, but without the slightly egotistical language often used in such documents.

Another interesting addition to the exhibition is the piece entitled ‘Confession’, the lonely rant of the artist, who appears to be a little more than pissed of with his current situation, the struggle for ‘the big idea’ and the integrity of the people and artists around him.