RedcurrantTeaspoon | David Paul Gleeson
Signed, Limited Edition of 100.
Giclée print. Pure pigment archival ink on 300gsm Minuet 100% Cotton Rag stock, 31.5cm x 44cm (19cm x 31.5cm print area), unframed.
(Please note: The prints in these photographs may bear proof markings and numbering. Purchased prints are marked with applicable edition numbers.)
Click on image to enlarge
In his first series of prints for Editions SSA, David Paul Gleeson celebrates “The Magic of the Quotidian.”
The artist describes the composition of RedcurrantTeaspoon as carefully random. “The whole thing looks as if it has just fallen there.” Of course, that is not the case: in this striking image, an everyday object takes centre stage. “Cutlery is lovely – practical and beautiful,” Gleeson remarks. Pointing downwards, the simple silver spoon appears to have been put aside for a moment, as if captured while someone is in the midst of preparing a dessert. Against a smoothly painted, turquoise background, the redcurrants are depicted like carelessly scattered rubies, just waiting to be scooped up by a maharani. “They almost glow like little stars,” says Gleeson, “so I arranged them like constellations in the sky.” Precious, beautiful, jewel-like: the artist reminds us to take a fresh look at our everyday surroundings, however humble.
In a contemporary reinterpretation of a tradition of still-life painting that dates back to 17th- and 18th-century Spanish and Dutch masters such as Juan Sanchez Cotán and Adrian Coorte, Gleeson captures the transience of everyday existence and holds it up for scrutiny. At the same time, he builds on his affinity with 20th-century Color Field painting as exemplified by artists such as Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella. This is apparent in the composition of these arrestingly simple images, which hover between the abstract and the figurative.
In Gleeson’s work, the stone ledges or frames frequently shown in early still-life paintings, which focus the onlooker’s eye on the very ordinary objects depicted – a cabbage, a peach, a radish – are replaced by Rothko-inspired colour fields. As much attention is paid to the backgrounds – dragged in to appear substantial rather than being mere planes of colour – as the objects portrayed. The complex, subtle hues are very much based on the tonal composition. There is no indication that we are looking at a real surface such as stone, slate or wood. Together with the sharp shadows and highlights, the colour fields thus contrast with and heighten the objects depicted – raising our awareness of things that we would normally take for granted and elevating these still-lifes to the status of portraits.