Appropriating Power | Andrew Lister | 02 - 24 October 2010
Lifting iconic and often controversial imagery from the media, Lister examines his feelings towards contemporary conflicts through a series of quietly considered yet politically charged works.
For this exhibition at South Square Gallery, Lister presents new and existing works that draw from his ongoing fascination with media imagery and responses to ongoing international peace keeping efforts, with particular reference to the 'war on terror'.
Many of the images used are newspaper photographs and take strength from their often indifferent qualities. For example the artwork titled 'The Leeds Bomber', uses an unfocused press image of the London Bomber reproduced faithfully in paint onto a Victorian tablecloth. The softness of the image and the material it is painted upon collide with Siddique Khan and his part in an ideological struggle. The English tablecloth, in this context, alludes to Muslim garments and the simplicity of this reference helps us to see an ordinary face albeit of a man who one day will perpetrate an atrocity.
Similarly works painted on found handkerchiefs master the appropriated image. Lister's careful handling of the paint indicates a respect for both subject and for the tradition of portrait painting. The handkerchief has a sensual tactile quality but the stains on the cotton, surrounding for example the smoking twin towers, are also a gentle reminder of a different provenance that questions the work itself and the tradition it embodies.
In contrast other works are more playful We see war victim Simon Weston dressed absurdly as the queen, creating a tongue-in-cheek critique of the relationships and roles of politics and power. Although these works often present themselves as subversive and humorous, Lister's underlining and genuine concern for contested contemporary conflicts places his art firmly in the political arena.
South Square, Thornton, Bradford, BD13 3LD
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