Pallant House Gallery is pleased to announce a solo show of paintings and maquettes by Brighton-based artist Louise Bristow. Timed to coincide with the Gallery’s major summer exhibition of Eduardo Paolozzi, ‘Unofficial Paintings’ explores the importance of collage to Bristow’s working practice and her eclectic range of influences, from Ladybird children’s books to the aesthetic of the Cold War.
BBristow's work explores the power of imagery to evoke periods and ideas from the twentieth century. Her paintings are implanted with signifiers ranging from modernist architecture, graffiti and press photographs to colours, shapes and abstract patterns that are used to trigger meaning. By layering three-dimensional models and flat collages that are meticulously constructed and staged in her studio, Bristow set ups narratives, often with an underlying philosophical or political commentary.
Following in the vein of Pop artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, whose work is shown concurrently in the main galleries, her paintings draw upon an eclectic repertoire of source material that she has amassed throughout her career. Attracted by the particular quality of print or textured paper, she returns repeatedly to her collection of vintage book jackets, magazine cuttings, commercial packaging and postage stamps, resulting in the frequent reoccurrence of imagery in her work.
‘Unofficial Paintings' takes its title from Soviet terminology that was applied to non-endorsed art in former Eastern Bloc countries, reflecting Bristow's enduring fascination with Cold War politics and aesthetics. The academic style of Socialist Realism is central to the look of her paintings in the way that she painstakingly captures the visual appearance of objects, and yet her modest scale and preference for gouache rather than oil paint aligns them more closely with covert, dissident art.Bristow has only recently come to recognise her preparatory models as artworks in their own right. Exhibited alongside her early constructions and paintings in the Gallery's De' Longhi Print Room, which is conventionally reserved for two-dimensional prints and drawings, they demonstrate her interest in ‘marginal, hidden and forgotten things' and force us to consider what can be defined as official or unofficial art.
Louise Bristow: Unofficial Paintings will be shown at the Gallery alongside a season of exhibitions on the theme of collage including ‘Eduardo Paolozzi: Collaging Culture' (6 July - 13 October). Of this pairing, Bristow says: "I really identify with Paolozzi. He had a veracious appetite for images and a distinct repertoire that makes his work immediately recognisable,"
‘Louise Bristow: Unofficial Paintings' is on from 2 July - 18 August 2013 in the De'Longhi Print Room. The artist will talk in conversation with Peter Suchin on Thursday 1 August, 6pm. www.pallant.org.uk