Neil Haddon

11 Aug - 8 Sep 2007

‘Purblind’ can be used to describe the effect on the eyes when walking into a darkened room from a bright exterior. The momentary loss of vision fades as the eyes become accustomed to the difference in light. It is in this transitory space that Haddon situates his recent work, where the details of half lit shapes are literally glossed over or conversely, almost entirely erased.


When describing the surfaces of these gloss enamel paintings on aluminium the poles of light and dark can be substituted for other extremes that have been present in Haddon’s work over the past decade: pristine and abraded; gloss and matt; erasure and iteration. Other oppositions have been the flat full frontal precision of the Modernist grid but seen from askance, skewed, irregular and interrupted; the seamless unified surface of a painted image of flawed and blemished facades; the use of images culled from the mass media where the information is blanked out and reduced leaving only a minimal residue.

In this recent work the predominantly dark palate veils a non-committed ambivalence of humdrum local news stories and domestic snapshots: the man with his dogs, the farmer and his crops, the PR image of an author, children on a beach, a local historian. In the paintings these abraded images, whose meanings have been absented, stand as tarnished mirrors reflecting partially and incompletely their urban context. The paintings act as foils to an urban banal, hamming up the narratives of the mundane and offering strange re-readings of today’s news reflected in the coloured surfaces of an urban context. In the absence of detail their diffused meanings are exotic, echoing the names of the DIY paints with which they are painted. The pristine surface of home renovation is coated with a patina of drama. Deliberately held between the light and dark these stranded images suggestively unravel the prosaic.