Ian Grose: Small Paintings

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14 May

nothing on the painting board, thursday

5 May

dom reading cavafy while zander sleeps, monday night

3 May

gerda’s mirror

26 Apr

anne reading THE FACE from 1996, saturday night

26 Apr

view from my desk, saturday

24 Apr

self portrait for everyone who came to the party

4 Apr

sarah not as sad as she looks, saturday

10 Mar

emmelie on my studio carpet, tuesday afternoon

11 Feb

mirror mitchell, tuesday night

9 Feb

julia reading on her balcony, monday evening

6 Feb

marianne during the power cut, friday evening

5 Feb

shadow of lion’s head on parliament building, 7:15PM

14 Jan

warm evening, mirror, wednesday

12 Jan

emma reading with me in the mirror, monday night

7 Jan

matthew, monday

5 Jan

nicoletta in the dark next to kaaimans river, sunday evening

5 Nov

matt reading oryx & crake by the window, queenstown

13 Oct

fernando in his studio at parsons, NYC

20 Jun

marc with plant & miles davis, monday morning

19 Jun

winter jody, thursday evening

17 Jun

unathi after work, tuesday

13 Jun

dom, friday evening

3 Jun

grant, tuesday night

15 May

alexis karamazov, thursday evening

25 Apr

karin thinking about 2015, friday night

22 Apr

anna with orange hat, tuesday

17 Apr

nicoletta finally, thursday evening

17 Mar

gitte in her technicolour dress, sunday night

18 Feb

emmelie, monday night

4 Feb

kevin, kevin against the dying of the light. tuesday evening

30 Jan

michael, monday evening

15 Jan

frith XIV, tuesday night

9 Jan

shaheed, or whistler’s mother’s son, thursday evening

11 Dec

kirsten contrapposto, wednesday

11 Dec

fabi with gin & tonic, tuesday night

6 Dec

mia sort of, wednesday

3 Dec

beezy in his studio, tuesday

28 Nov

selfie with plants before athi’s show, wednesday

27 Nov

matt with beach towel listening to the collected works of midlake, tuesday night

25 Nov

matty as a french girl, monday evening

30 Oct

alan in the studio after watching protesters from the balcony, wednesday evening

11 Sep

yellow dress, wednesday afternoon

4 Sep

anton listening to before today like three times, wednesday

2 Sep

jess, monday evening

30 Aug

selfie with hat, friday evening

30 Aug

trees on signal hill, 11:45AM

29 Aug

mitchell, thursday

28 Aug

saddest playlist, wednesday

26 Aug

girl in pink with constant interruption

23 Aug

nic looking at the shadows moving, friday

20 Aug

anne listening to techno, tuesday evening

20 Aug

monday night

6 Aug

another leonard, tuesday

6 Aug

leonard, tuesday

5 Aug

houseman listens to jazz, monday

31 Jul

kerry with ‘compositional element’, wednesday

31 Jul

daniella prettymuch, wednesday

25 Jul

lerato in the new studio, thursday

24 Jul

bee with bookshelf, wednesday

22 Jul

girl with book, sunday

22 Jul

naomi late for yoga, monday

30 Apr

jarred listening to serious music, tuesday

25 Apr

alexandra, wednesday

10 Jan

myer, thursday

10 Jan

emma the patientest

10 Jan

jesse avec bling

4 Jan

george with purple hair, friday

3 Jan

oh man it’s jan, 1:35PM

30 Dec

candice listening to kendrick lamar, sunday

29 Dec

emma before asia quick, friday

29 Dec

dave pretending to read, friday

29 Dec


29 Dec

simone, thursday

Small Paintings Ian Grose I find myself surprised to have made a body of work like this, even while recalling what led me to this point. Towards the end of 2012, I returned from a residency in Paris where I’d been looking at, and loving, some of the precursors and descendants of the Impressionists (Manet and Vuillard in particular). I was compelled by a vitality of mark-making, a kind of counterintuitive description of form. Looking at the pictures close-up, the categories of abstract and representational seemed to dissolve; I really understood how these painters prefigured the Abstract Expressionists in their focus on the autonomous qualities of the mark itself. I also began to think that an appreciation of the meaning of the pictures had to take into account the conditions of making them from direct observation. My understanding of the pictures was limited if I didn’t understand the process, although it was a process with which I was very unfamiliar, having always worked from photographs. At the same time, I felt that my justifications for painting from existing imagery would be less evasive if I had some experience of another way of working. The first paintings originated from a set of rules I formulated in response to this curiosity regarding painting from life. In Cape Town I started making quick paintings from my fourth-floor apartment, mostly views of the city done at times when the light was changing rapidly. I wanted to give myself a tiny window of time, in order to force myself to work quicker, to select only the most important details, and not to second-guess myself once marks were put down. Accordingly, the pictures had to be small enough that I was able to finish them in about 20 minutes. I initially had no intention of exhibiting these pictures, but when a solo show presented itself at short notice, I decided to develop this strand of directly observed work into an exhibition which could stand on its own, and to set it apart from my

studio paintings. (Having continued with both ways of working for a few years, I no longer perceive them as entirely separate and am experimenting with showing them together.) At this point it was December, and some of my friends who have moved away from Cape Town were visiting their families. This is often the only time of year I get to see them, yet I didn’t feel I had the time to stop working. So, thinking I was confident enough to attempt portraits, I asked my friends to come and sit for me while I painted them. Having unwittingly strayed into such a rich tradition, I realised I had to again develop a set of rules in order to limit my options. The first was that the pictures had to be made in a single sitting, lasting between an hour and 90 minutes. I felt accountable to the time and limited patience of the sitter, which encouraged a sense of focussed urgency. Immediately after completion, I would photograph the painting and upload it to my tumblr (www.iangrose.tumblr.com). An interesting outcome of these rules was that the physical painting was more or less the same size as the image on a laptop screen. I felt that working this way redressed some of the distortions of scale, texture and time inherent in viewing paintings online. As subjects, I’ve used people I know, mostly from university or art school; occasionally the sitting is a result of a casual conversation with a stranger about what I do. At the moment, the subject is more of a pretext for a formal, material experiment than for psychological inquiry, although owing to the difficulty of sitting still for that long, the ‘atmosphere’ often becomes meditative, and I think that comes through in the picture. Asked to remain very still, they often pick a blank spot and stare at it for the duration of a normal movie, which after some time can elicit a kind of hallucination (a white wall, for instance, becomes suffused with colour) not dissimilar from the type of looking I’m trying to attain in painting them.

10 Dec

monday, just before 6AM

30 Nov

parliament, friday, 7PM

24 Nov

gardens centre in sun, 6:30PM

22 Nov

ugly building across the road, 4:30PM

8 Nov

lion’s head with weird clouds, 5:45PM

3 Nov

midnight-ish, cold front coming, fire & ice hotel

Ian Grose was born in Johannesburg in 1985 and lives and works in Cape Town. He completed a postgraduate diploma in painting at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 2010, after a BA majoring in English Literature and Art History. His first solo exhibition, Other Things, took place at Blank Projects in Cape Town in 2011. He was awarded the Absa l’Atelier prize in 2011, as well as the Tollman Award for Visual Arts, and spent six months in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2012. Works produced during his residency were exhibited at the Absa Art Gallery in Johannesburg in 2013. He has had solo exhibitions at Stevenson, Cape Town, in 2013 and 2014, and at the gallery’s Johannesburg space in 2015.

CAPE TOWN Buchanan Building 160 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock 7925 PO Box 616 Green Point 8051 T +27 (0)21 462 1500 F +27 (0)21 462 1501 JOHANNESBURG 62 Juta Street Braamfontein 2001 Postnet Suite 281 Private Bag x9 Melville 2109 T +27 (0)11 403 1055/1908 F +27 (0)86 275 1918 info@stevenson.info www.stevenson.info Catalogue 84 June 2015 Š 2015 for works and text: Ian Grose Design Gabrielle Guy Photography Mario Todeschini Printing Hansa Print, Cape Town

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