Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present "Endless Night," a series of new paintings by Dexter Dalwood.
The title of the exhibition is taken from a line in William Blake's poem"Auguries of Innocence" — "Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night." In these new paintings Dalwood explores a rather morbid fascination with the latter via the death scenarios of famous public figures both real and fictional— from the tragic suicide of photographer Diane Arbus to the graphic homicides in novels such as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
Merging real history with art history, Dalwood incorporates distinctive painterly elements or devices borrowed from other artists. In Gorky's Studio, a thickly painted black rectangle evoking Clifford Still's dense abstract fields blocks the scene of the artist's suicide; The Crash conjures W.G. Sebald's fatal road accident in the English countryside, as seen from inside a car whose shattered windscreen is a whorl of expressionist paintwork; in Under Blackfriars, dangling feet protrude from the top of the image above the waters of a Monet-esque river scene, referring to the mysterious death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi, who was found hanged beneath the bridge in 1982.
Dalwood's approach embodies both the manner and matter of historical memory from which the history of painting is itself inextricable. He begins by making drawings and collages constructed from images culled from all manner of printed matter. Mixing references to the history of art and painterly language that are by turn direct and obscure, his paintings suggest an equivalence between real or imagined historical events and historically indexed artistic styles while constructing a rhetorical system for examining the many lives and deaths of painting.
Dexter Dalwood was born in Bristol in 1960 and studied at St Martins School of Art and the Royal College of Art. This is his fifth solo show for the Gagosian Gallery. He has exhibited throughout Europe, including participation in "The Triumph of Painting", Leeds City Art Gallery (2006); "Days Like These: Tate Triennial Exhibition of Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain (2003) and Remix: Contemporary Art and Pop, Tate Liverpool (2002). In 2010, Tate St Ives, will mount a mid career survey of the artist's paintings. The exhibition will travel to FRAC Champagne–Ardenne in Reims, France and then CAC Malaga in Spain. He lives and works in London.