I managed to go along to Gormley’s new show last Thursday. It was another packed viewing but luckily just enough space for everyone. The works were phenomenal. I’ve always been a huge fan of his work and his switch to 2d works beautifully. I’m definitely biased as I’ve been inspired by his work for years.
The oil paintings (literally) try to show the relationship between man and oil. He was covered in the oil, suspended from a height above the paper, and dropped. The outcomes are these beige impasto figures in semi-religious poses. In two of the pieces, the oil was pretty much still dripping behind in the frame. There’s an obvious playfulness with line and drawing techniques that aren’t evident in most of Gormley’s work. It really is a nice change. Although the large works caused the most excitement. I was a huge fan of the smaller A4 / A5 works in the second gallery space. They were linear drawings, with almost perfectly straight lines, without the use of a ruler. In the middle of the chaotic lines was Gormley’s shadowy figure. Other works were printed from wood cuts, the pattern still visible in the final pieces.
To make things more interesting, he recently had an operation on his leg, and therefore was sitting in the same spot during the entire viewing. You could hear everyone around us questioning whether it was an accident during the making of the pieces. Some even looking for bends in the leg imprints…. sadly it wasn’t something quite as exciting.