Study of sitting figure

Graham Carrick, 2013, Acrylic on Canvas , 25.40cm x 25.40cm, Paintings

Graham Carrick

Graham Carrick paints snatches of art history surface in a knowing way. In Pick An Emotion he paints an abstract arrangement of angles in a Philip Guston type stacked up arrangement. This is abstraction painted graphically. Carrick’s angles are arranged like a sculptural object emerging from a dark ground. Carrick paints a figurative painting but the subject matter of the painting is the language of abstraction. The artist considers the idea of how to construct an abstract painting. The result is a literal thing formed from abstract parts to become an object. The title suggests a game. The careful but wild arrangement looks like the children’s toy Kerplunk. Carrick makes work which looks carefully painted and skilfully arranged yet casually improvised. We can see he has changes of mind and over painted areas and blocked out sections give the impression that the finished painting has just arrived with some revisions. Neo Feeling is a painting of a head, a portrait with the features obscured and painted over. Baselitz style expressionism competes with a cooler abstraction of lines and angles, Carrick mixes expressionism with the look of futurism but without the meaning or concerns of either art movement. Familiar and clever in its art history it is not trying to quote the past or making us rethink the art we know, it is more just nod at it saying “alright mate” as if he is giving a casual greeting to a passing acquaintance walking down the street. Teeth depicts an open mouth of rainbow coloured, flatly painted abstract rectangles. The background is divided into shapes and two small colour dots hover. It draws a casual authority from Luc Tuymans. Carrick’s hazily described painted world is figurative in intention yet abstract in execution. A carnival merry-go-round world of modernism is used to describe the ordinary world. When Worlds Collide suggest it is a purely abstract painting. Two orange arcs are balanced one on top of the other, beneath the arcs is a solid weight of blue and a washy white ground has been painted over something else not visibly erased but suggested. The painting is presented like a still life but has the concerns of sculpture in how it describes lightness and heaviness and balance. Carrick makes paintings that make sense if you think of them like sculpture just he hasn’t had to do the physical things necessary to make sculpture.