AT THE GALLERY: Dream Lovers

Darren Wardle

2 - 21 Dec 2017

Darren Wardle’s new series of abandoned mattress paintings challenge us to consider these abject objects, often seen randomly discarded in awkward and contorted arrangements, as somehow noble and monumental. Cumbersome yet essential items normally confined to the domestic realm, they take on ungainly characteristics once unceremoniously cast out into the public sphere for all to see. Mattresses are evocative objects: repositories of dreams, rest and sites of intimacy. They relate to the body, to architecture and reveal very personal histories as they circulate through urban space on their way to the dump. And, like the stretched canvas they’re painted on, once out on the street they can also serve as temporary supports for expressive painterly intervention. He’s drawn to the idea that paint is a protagonist in the process of ruination and decay that these works address. By conflating the Romantic tropes of 19th century ruin specialists, like Casper David Friedrich, with poured paint, smooth gradient blends and gritty realism, Wardle’s mattresses idealize these wasted monolithic forms elevating them to the sublime.