‘The backwards man The backwards man I can walk backwards as fast as you can, O, the backwards man………’
(Tom Green, Freddy got fingered, 2001)
Backwards Man brings together a group of artists who explore the potential of uncertainty and allow it to be an active presence in their creative process. Incorporating ways to disrupt their method, they harness the dichotomies of success and failure, knowing and unknowing therefore allowing into their practices a lottery of unexpected and serendipitous outcomes.
Together they invite these contingencies through varied means using failure as a complementary force to disrupt the artists’ work and give rise to moments of uncertainty, which skew the perspectives and stretch the imagination. As a group they intend to continue the process of disruption and uncertainty into the curation and installation of the works mixing painting, installation and projections throughout the gallery. In this sense, discovery through making can be achieved and in turn, the work itself can ask questions.
Laura Bygrave creates mysterious spaces that feel strangely intimate. Her figurative paintings offer opportunities for unfamiliar narrative and action. By imposing a strict time limit upon each work and using digitally selected colours, Bygrave forces accidental relationships between subjects, helping to suspend a scrutinizing, conscious eye.
Alex Crocker. A bad alchemy takes place, wonky and drunken. Vessels become figures and figures vessels. A transient fluidity supports and enhances the subjects and sensations, autobiographical anecdotes and intoxicated ramblings, personal rituals and shared visions.
Grant Foster employs the application of slogans to create an instructive, dominant and ethically curious world. A world that claims the vernacular of the low-fi, in order to transform the private into the public. Lines from Phillip Roth books, re-hashes from Western painting, children’s illustrations, murderers and rapists from the tabloid papers, male beef-cake stereotypes and photos culled endlessly from the internet, form a collision of anarchic images offering an alternative morality.
Kate Groobey places a strong emphasis on giving the viewer enough space to become involved, to tease out a subject and play with it. Series of canvases are painted quickly, figures deformed, dismantled, cut-up and reassembled. The resulting mismatched body parts and distorted poses shift about, persisting in spite of themselves.
Ross Taylor’s simple but unreal places are populated by a collection of faux-heroes. While they search for instruction, characters seemingly bark at each other in a kind of mimicked language. Set to work, the voices, props and personalities create a personal visual alphabet obsessed with exaggerated social trends and contemporary lifestyle. Materially, an alternate conversation persists, where the imagery emerging is dictated by Taylor as much as it is suggested by the medium.