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FW When i visited you there seemed to be no ‘real’ objects in your studio apart from a few things like a kettle and a settee—useful objects. i was surprised, it felt a little like a beautifully lit laboratory. yet there are all manner of invented ‘objects’ in your paintings. these ‘objects’ change from painting to painting, with some recurrent formal themes and effects. do these forms refer at all to objects in the real world, or are they guided only by memory, experience and imagination.

GlB i am lucky to have a strong visual memory and did so much drawing from life in the past that i have a kind of internal library that enables me to understand how to make an object sit in a space. i like the process when the thing comes from nowhere and surprises me. i need to feel like anything could happen. Often the object has to be ‘tamed’, we need to be able to relate to it and to find a ‘way in’. i will reference formal still-life setting or use a recognizable element like lace. Also inspiration constantly comes from the world, whether it is a fashion magazine or seeing the way light falls on a wall. FW are there intended strategies of ambiguity, a blurring of the real and imagined, the abject and the visionary, the conflicting qualities of the fugitive and the physical, the contradiction between the evident mastery of technique and the abjection of the objects invented?

GlB Yes, the ambiguity keeps a painting alive, the object needs to be un-pinned-down-able. And all those spaces in between are interesting. FW is there anything to add here about the two paintings in the exhibition, Fecunditas and Plebjus with their funny yet slightly repellent titles! and, do your painted objects suggest series of works as you proceed?

GlB these works are two of a series that examine the fetishistic nature of painting and the way it mirrors a private world. With this series there are echoes of the ethnographic artifact. i was thinking also of the newly discovered natural worlds depicted in seventeenth century Dutch still life paintings where ultimately the tulip became a commodity fetish. there lurks the ghost of the collector, perhaps bringing to mind continuing contemporary themes of public/private display and the fetishistic gaze of ownership.

Further information on the artist is available at www.glbrierley.com 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Elkins, James 1999 What Painting Is. Oxford: Routledge. Kristeva, Julia 1984 Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York: Columbia university Press. ibid. Baudrillard, Jean, Elsner, John, and Cardinal, Roger, eds. 1997 ‘the System of Collecting’ from Cultures of Collecting. London: Reaktion. ibid. ibid. Kristeva, Julia 1984 Powers of Horror. Baudrillard, Jean 1997 Cultures of Collecting.

AmBiguOuS PRACtiCES 33

Still Life: Ambiguous Practices Exhibition Catalogue  

Catalogue by Frances Woodley

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