Jonathan Wateridge (*1972) is one of the leading figurative painters of his generation whose work explores the hidden influence of the photographic and filmic image in our day-to-day lives. A student of the Glasgow School of Art in the early 1990s where he studied painting and pursued an interest in film, his engagement with a realistic aesthetic began in 2005 with a series of disaster paintings that depicted shipwrecks and plane crashes in hyper-realistic landscape settings. These paintings were followed by the ‘Group Series’, a collection of fictional tableaux settings showing actors playing the part of Astronauts or Sandinista rebels, all caught in the act of posing for commemorative photographs. In 2007, the theme of fictional space was further expanded in the ‘Another Place’ series; a group of seven large-scale paintings that explored the artist’s perceived memory of the city of Los Angeles as envisaged through a fictitious film set realised in seven different parts and exhibited at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice in 2011. Here the production of painting is in itself redolent of filmmaking. Prior to the first marks on the canvas, scale model sets are built, props fabricated, costumes made and performers cast in each role.
The current ‘Colony’ series, being presented in Berlin, contin-ues the artist’s on-going interest in the language of photo-graphy and film and its transferral into the visceral reality of paint. Showing a collection of 16 new canvasses alongside a selected group of works from his ‘Monument’ paintings from last year, Wateridge takes as his starting point the non-descript setting of new-build apartments populated by twenty-some-things living their lives out in the centre of an Ikea heaven. We see one young woman crouching on the sofa as if she is engaged in a Skype call while others have the abstract gaze of the computer screen; a young man stretches his body in preparation for exercise or pulls his jumper over his head. Yet what is also apparent in these remarkable paintings is a new engagement with the surface of the canvas in a manner that reconfigures the blandness of everyday existence into the fluid certainty of paint.
The exhibition is realized in cooperation with Mark Sanders Art Consultancy.