Nick Goss walks through his exhibition Dolphin Express at CFA (Contemporary Fine Arts), commenting on his influences and process.
The psychology of place echoes through Dolphin Express, a new series of largescale paintings in pigment, oil and screen print on linen, accompanied by a group of watercolour works on paper. The exhibition borrows its title from a local cab company and pays attention to people on the move. In the wake of his last series of paintings which imagined a Ballardian, flooded London, Goss continues to draw upon images of the floods that forced his family to flee their homes in Holland in 1953. Here, the flood is a memory, a way of considering moments of transition and people forced to move.
Goss takes his daily commute from South London to Elephant and Castle as a starting point. Screenprints of fabrics found in the neighbourhood stitch together scenes, only to let them unravel. Imagined and inherited images coalesce as commuters hover above geometric swirls, ethereal interiors stand ajar from screen printed photographs. A careful reader of the likes of Sebald and Woolf, Goss is drawn to the way a walk down the street broaches broader questions of history and human experience. Images and ideas from John Berger and Jean Mohr’s A Seventh Man and Derek Jarman’s Modern Nature also drifted into Goss’ painting process.
Olivia Lang’s commentary on Modern Nature is particularly resonant: “To Jarman, there were times when it seemed the past ran very close, almost touchable.” Juxtaposing a documentary photograph from the Zeeland flood with an aquarium from a doctor’s waiting room in Aquarium or a film still from Theo Angelopoulos’ Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow with a scene from the London tube in Dolphin Express, Goss compresses distant images into a fragmented dreamscape. Allowing memories to take up space in banal settings, Goss renders the past tactile, envisions its sharpened presence in moments of waiting and transition. In Morley’s Mirror, a vaguely desolate scene at a fast food joint, a diamond mirror refracts leafed patterns and waterlogged homes. Drawn from the last five years of his studio practice, these reflected shapes bathe the scene in a warm, blue light. Goss gets at the way place holds memory; this is poetic, personal and political.
Like the recurrent reflective surfaces of glinting tableware or glassy pools of water, empty spaces on lightly primed linen are also present throughout Goss’ oeuvre. These lacunae compel the viewer to bring herself into the work, as gaps are colored by moments of recognition, recollection. Perhaps the viewer then too recognizes, recalls, the way the past clings not only to Goss’ dreamscapes, but also to the body and its observing eye.
Nick Goss (b. 1981 Bristol) lives and works in London. He completed a Masters of Fine Art at the Royal Academy, London in 2009 and a BA from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2006. Goss’ first solo institutional exhibition will open in March 2019 at the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include De Ramp, Josh Lilley, London 2017 and Bluing, Simon Preston Gallery, New York, 2016. Selected group exhibitions include Lin & Lin Gallery, Taipei; Palazzo Capris, Turin; Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam; The Drawing Room, London; and Sammlung Lenikus, Innsbruck.
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