Dan McDermott | Transmission
2 December 2013 - 29 January 2014
Alon Zakaim Fine Art is proud to present Transmission, a solo exhibition of British artist Dan McDermott's provocative new works. Executed in McDermott's meticulous Photorealist style, the artist has adopted a radically Postmodern approach to his subject matter. Taking paintings by the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters as his source material, the imagery is drastically altered. As though seen through a television signal blurred and distorted by interference, groundbreaking works such as Manet's Olympia and Degas' Absinthe Drinker take on new meanings. Using techniques inherited from the editing rooms of film and television, McDermott edits and splices his content. In a reference to the contemporary proliferation of images and the changes in distribution of culture, the viewer is reminded of familiar works which may have previously only been seen through printed or filmed images. Each work therefore becomes a multi-layered experience; the original, studied by the artist through secondary media, is subsequently altered and turned back into a painting.
Marking a new direction in the artist's oeuvre, the paintings retain McDermott's characteristically cinematic aura. His reworking of Edgar Degas's Singer with a glove focuses on the facial features of the soprano vocalist, the subdued palette giving a haunting, melancholic hue. The varying bands of colour, also evident in After Georges Seurat, mimic the fracturing of a paused image on a television screen (an effect known as 'roll bars'), again leading the viewer to see this as a snapshot of a work extracted from a wider context. These layers are increased further as the artist takes photographs of the paused imagery, transferring these to acetate before projecting onto canvas and painting in oil. The face of the reclining nude in Manet's Olympia, which on its first exhibition caused scandal due to her brazen and confident regard of the viewer, is again focused on to create an ambiguous portrait; her nudity is implied rather than revealed, seemingly a still from an unspecified film.
McDermott analyses contemporary media and our perception of these. A Picasso originated as a film still of Pablo Picasso preparing a monumental painting. A Warhol and Another Warhol again originated as film stills, referencing a favoured media of Andy Warhol, the pivotal Pop artist who revolutionised our view of mass produced objects and imagery, elevating them to the status of high art. Each work, whilst inextricably linked to the original source, allows new narrative understandings of the subject matter.
Transmission will be on display at Alon Zakaim Fine Art, 30 Cork St. London W1S 3NG from 2 December 2013 - 29 January 2014. Gallery opening hours are 9am - 6pm, Monday - Friday. Weekends by appointment only.
Sign up to our newsletter