Ian Grose: Invention, Cure
From May 18 to July 12, 2019, Stevenson, Cape Town will present Invention, Cure, a solo exhibition by Ian Grose. The show comprises a group of paintings on paper and canvas that were made over the past year. Grose explains that they were often the result of designing sets of rules, which he thinks of as ‘games’, that allow unexpected harmonies to arise and be explored. He writes:
One starting point occurred when I spent an evening covering pieces of paper with base colours, on which I planned to paint pictures. Having done one a particular way, to do another in just the same way felt false, or uninteresting. The first one (I hesitate to say ‘painting’) was made without precedent, so the next one had to find new territory in order to be made in the same spirit as the first. Even with so few variables, every time I covered a small rectangle with colour, something unexpected occurred in the process – and that surprise inspired the way I went about covering the next one. Most were made in the same evening, without any suspicion that these surfaces might be exhibited as artworks – which, I later realised, endeared them to me as examples of the kind of spirit I wanted to attain in more ambitious work.
Another starting point was the decision to temporarily limit my subject matter to the most recent, dramatic change to my visual experience of the city: the profusion of delivery motorbikes, evidence of the popularity of apps that offer unrivalled convenience at the cost of increased personal isolation, and the loss of physical engagement with the common spaces of the city. To some extent, I was annoyed by this new presence. But after some time I found I was drawn to the languid, almost classical poses of the men waiting on their bikes, and the seemingly endless permutations of posture, bike and uniform.
In the process of trying to translate this attraction into paintings, I came upon a new set of rules for myself (a new game), involving montage, that made existing images feel ‘paintable’ again. Those rules provide a limiting structure. The objective is to throw myself into engagement with painting, imagery and meaning in a way that forces improvisation – like jumping into an unpredictable current, and swimming.
This is Grose’s fifth solo show with the gallery, following Pictures from the Studio in Cape Town in 2017, and Refrain in Johannesburg in 2015.
April 08, 2021