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Sam Dargan paints the doomed world of jobsworths, whose lives of monotony and abjection are grey, dismal and on the verge of collapse. Transported to barren and sinister landscapes the characters are lost in scenes suggestive of abysmal teambuilding exercises gone awry; shops burn, hostages are taken and white collars are strung up in trees in their mud splattered suits. Battling against the forces of nature and contemporary capitalist society alike the artist's figures are hopeless, the depicted adventures fragmentary, futile and inconsequential.
Taking his references from contemporary film, art history and the daily newspapers Dargan comments on disillusioned men who have lost the way, and for whom society has no meaning. On the brink of meltdown the artist's cast are at war with the everyday world. Despite the apathy and self loathing or the tantrums against a world that has failed them there is an amusement beyond the desperate situations and forlorn stances.
Samuel St. Leger paints empty disenchanted landscapes suggesting dark film sets or imagined scenes from literature. Eerie settings awaiting interpretation and protagonists, become adventures or fables populated by our own memories. In each work the artist selects and highlights certain details. Broken branches, leaves caught on barbed wire and menacing cloud formations are bought to our attention. As if caught off guard whilst on look out, and in an attempt to overcome the uneasy situation, the artist focuses on particular details the relevance of which is not clear. We find ourselves flung into a landscape of dark edited spaces fabricated by human emotion.
The painting process employed by the artist becomes a part of the work and the scene. Meticulously and delicately St. Leger builds up layers of carefully masked acrylic paint, each tier entrenching further mystery and intrigue, the practice adding to the tension. Starting from an extreme of either light or dark, each layer renders those underneath it invisible and so the artist sees the completed work for the first time once the masking-tape is removed. This process challenges the artist's memory skills and surprise both artist and the viewer with the variance created.
Private View, 18.30 - 20.30, Tuesday 31 May 2005