Green on Red

Tom Hunter

04 Feb - 05 Mar 2011

© Tom Hunter
Lea Valley Lines (2010)
C type print
122 x 152cm
Unheralded Stories
04 Feb - 05 Mar 2011

Green On Red Gallery is delighted to welcome Tom Hunter back to Dublin for the artist’s third solo show in the gallery. The exhibition consists of a new series of photo works of events and people living in and around Hackney in East London where the artist lives and works, not unlike the basis for Living in Hell and Other Stories of the previous series. The C type prints are exhibited for the first time in pairs where the larger, epic work is accompanied by a smaller companion work that bears some untold relationship to its neighbour. All the works date from 2010 and are exhibited here following their premier viewing in The Purdy Hicks Gallery in London.

Unheralded Stories describes the hidden or underground myths and epic struggles and dreams of the local inhabitants of this community, but are as typical of any community, the world over. Hunter displays again here his native and precocious talent for telling stories. He excels at transforming the small incident or memory to a larger, fantastical vision. What was recounted, sometimes in passing or in a relaxed encounter in the local becomes a momentous event. The sense of grandeur attached to some of these works is not accidental. This is partly explained by the fact that a third image or narrative is involved in each scene. Each composition references great artworks from the history of European Painting from the Renaissance to the Pre-Raphaelites. Here, the range of preceding clues goes from Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio and Luca Giordano’s The Fall of the Rebel Angel (1666) to Roger Delivering Angelica (1819) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and to scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979).

The artist relishes some of the contradictions found in the fact that an ordinary everyday occurrence could appear so magical and other-worldly. The local is a spring-board for the exotic and the universal. The photographs are mirror images of paintings received through time. The calm serenity of the smaller companion photographs, shot using a pin-hole camera made especially for the artist, is in dramatic counter-point to the drama about to unfold or still held in the larger neighbour. The viewer is invited to look around, to pay closer attention day to day. The viewer is also given the opportunity to invent their own narratives or stories around these convergent pairs of images.

In speaking of Hackney Cut (2010), the artist explains :

I wanted to create the sense of an everyday epic, which in this case began with a story of boating adventures overheard in a local pub.

The title refers to a place where the river Lea cuts into Hackney, and this is a journey from the banks of the Hackney Marsh along the river Styx of Greek mythology.

The image shows another friend of mine pulling a boat through a sea of green algae while a woman reclines in her ferry on her epic adventure.

The ferryman, Charon in the original myth, has become Captain Willard, the Martin Sheen character in the film Apocalypse Now, pulling The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault (1888), from the great marsh to the centre of the underworld.

This exhibition is followed by an exhibition of new works by Fergus Martin opening March 10, 2010.

Tags: Tom Hunter, Fergus Martin