‘Haul In, Cousin’, Andrew Kerr @ BQ Galerie, March 9th, 2012

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The subjects of Andrew Kerr’s paintings – in his current exhibition predominantly paintings on paper – are objects and visual impressions or perceptions of everyday-life: a roof landscape, a still-life of casually arranged quotidian thing. Nonetheless, the depicted objects are given a strong presence mainly because they are represented in an unfamiliar way; for instance, emphasising a particular relationship between an object and the illusory space it inhabits or exaggerating physical conditions effecting the scene such as sources and reflections of light and properties of surface or breaking the expected development of the composition.

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New perspectives on the well-known are suggested. Sometimes, the shadings of an object are more pronounced than the object itself, thus altering its identity by expanding it into the room. Another important characteristic device of Andrew Kerr’s works is the continuous, in some cases only partial, painting-over of a rendered object until it becomes nearly unrecognisable. Two further aspects that provide the depicted with the appearance of the unfamiliar are the influence of the carrier’s materiality such as the structure of the paper or canvas, and the colouring that tends to highlight the marginal. Furthermore, specifically associative colours are chosen from the palette; for instance, carnation colour: in one of the paintings one is tempted to see bodies whereas the large carnation-coloured fields of paint represent nothing but the background and the shadows of a small brown object that turns out to be a fruit. In other new works, the beholder feels certain to discern a landscape, broadleaf trees in the sunlight or scissors and a letter. But once one inspects the details, the objects and their relation to the surrounding space begin to dissolve, any clues and references seem to shed, and all the details disintegrate to shattered units that can never be assembled into a coherent picture again. However, in opposition to an impressionistic painting, the beholder cannot reintegrate the image one has believed to recognize at first sight by just stepping back. Andrew Kerr’s paintings keep questioning this very perception/cognition of one’s first superficial sight and the related rash comprehension of facts and contexts. They release us from the constraints of visual conventions and structures of thought by offering a subjective picture.

For the duration of the exhibition, the artist has replaced the wooden façade of the gallery’s main space with large boards of insulating material consisting of pressed fibres. The greyish, slightly pastel colour and structure of the boards correspond to noticeable formal aspects in Andrew Kerr’s works.

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