CUT, COPY, PASTE at Beers Contemporary
One might be forgiven for at a glance thinking that the loud and optically arresting patterns and colours of Porray’s canvases, or the engine-like intricacy of Mape’s portrait cabinets are results of a digital process. Additionally the familiarity of the three-word title as a digital method enhances the analogue reality of the work being deceptively handmade. The meaning of cutting, copying and pasting is brought back to its original state of collage anew as Beers Contemporary brings together the works of three American artists: Frank Hallam Day, Michael Mapes and Brian Porray.
Day’s prints are a slight exception to the general presumption of digital process and ironically is the only one to be using camera technology in his creations. The four prints from his series titled Ship Hulls have incredible painterly attributes. The crisp quality of the image that latches onto the textures of the metal vessels and the ripples of the water that supports them are so rich they fool the eye into seeing a painting not a photograph. A painter himself, Day has an undeniably telling visual language and in a statement he acknowledges his awareness of Mark Rothko in the composition of horizontal fields, each with a zinging hue. Meticulous, methodical but never monotonous, Frank Day’s prints are some kind of wonderful.
Second artist Michael Mapes, also with a ostensibly meticulous method, presents painstakingly pinned taxonomies of 17th century paintings by Dutch Masters with a modern eclecticism. He makes the imagery sculptural and in dismantling and reassembling one painting that might otherwise be swallowed in a wave of similar portraits, each cabinet savours and teases out new possibilities in the detail. Tightly packed in like a switchboard they work as pieces from a far as well as they do up close and the obsessive weirdness of the test tubes of teeth, tiny x-rays, gauze and plastic anatomy compels you to study them.
The largest works are on canvas and belong to Brian Porray. Perhaps it is his acid colour palette and optically illusory use of printed lines and rainbow arches that conjure images of strobe lighting or digital glitches. It only takes a closer look into the surface and it is evident that the artist’s hand is all over it; sticking, collaging, slicking and spraying paint to build his composition, Porray’s work perhaps embodies the exhibition title the most, although the other two make for more interesting viewing.
CUT, COPY, PASTE is showing at Beers Contemporary gallery from 1st August until 27th September 2014, for further information visit here.