Alasdair Wallace: Talking Tree

16 January - 22 February 2014
Charlotte Street, London

Born in Drumchapel on the western edge of Glasgow in 1967, Alasdair Wallace grew up on that unfixed and unsettling margin between the modern city and the countryside that surrounds it. The world of his childhood was one of tower-blocks silhouetted against the distant hills, where the sodium-glare of a street lamp might suddenly illuminate a fox, where abandoned domestic appliances hung in the branches of thorn bushes, and wind-born Tesco bags sported with the circling birds.

 

The recurrent elements in his artistic landscape have gained an almost symbolic force. Wallace himself calls them 'absurd icons'. Birds act as mute witnesses to the unfolding scene. A mysterious dog reappears at intervals - now red, now blue- an elusive but essentially benign presence. The human figures that inhabit his curious landscape are touched by its oddness. Sometimes they are completely overwhelmed by their surroundings.

 

His work provides a window into an unexplained world. At once recognizable and bizarre.

The individuality of Wallace's vision is matched by the individuality of his technique. Colours are built up through layers of under-painting, to achieve an almost gem-like luminescence. His images glow with colour and detail.

 

The paintings shown in 'Talking Tree' are mainly intimate in scale, depicting the figures, trees, rocks and buildings which inhabit the sparsely populated 'backyard arcadia' though which Wallace meanders.

Ovid's metamorphosis has been a background influence in Wallace's work since student days and in this collection there are -sometimes oblique- references to Orpheus & Eurydice, Acteon & Diana, Apollo & Daphne.