10 December 2010 to 29 January 2011

Situated between an embrace of vulgarity in contemporary culture,
and a yearning for a lost mode of figuration in painting,
my work establishes a place of intersection between the sublime possibilities of painting,
and the closed, crude nature of pornography.

CHARLIE SMITH london presents Berlin based artist Gavin Tremlett with his first one person show in London. Tremlett’s portraits and full figure nudes provide a point of entry into an investigation of the human self. Playfully encouraging the gaze Tremlett’s classically rendered adolescent subjects invite us to engage voyeuristically whilst simultaneously turning the gaze back upon itself, as if to both absorb and reflect; to watch and be watched; to tempt and to reject. Displaying an emphatic sexuality, Tremlett’s subjects are at once enticing, inquiring and accusatory. Innocent and guilty, they are both victims and perpetrators.

Tremlett’s unparalleled technical ability combined with the seductive come hither pose of his subjects leads us into a confrontation with the uncanny. Beauty vies with deformity as his classically rendered, often mask-like visages both obscure as well as disclose. This rendering of face as mask is often coupled with abstract, painterly marks that serve to obfuscate the subject, thus interfering with the totality of an ideal self. There is a denial of the whole but also a doubling in process here, both physically and symbolically. The idea of the double, which can be read into portraits, reflections, shadows, totems or even the continuation of a blood line, as the psychoanalyst Otto Rank would have it, is a narcissistic extension of the self and a guarantee of immortality.

Tremlett’s paintings then are beautiful and unsettling manifestations of numerous combined and fragmented sources. At once we are attending art history, pornography, popular culture, nostalgic ideals, and the artist’s and our own inner drives and memories, both apparent and repressed.

Gavin Tremlett, born: 1977.

Education: 2001 – 2004: MA in Painting, Royal Academy Schools, London; 1996 – 1999: BA (Hons) in Fine Art (First Class), Loughborough University School of Art & Design. 

Selected Exhibitions: 2010: Amusements (Solo), CHARLIE SMITH london, London; The Future Can Wait (curated by Zavier Ellis & Simon Rumley), Shoreditch Town Hall, London; New British Painting (curated by Zavier Ellis & Pilvi Kalhama), Gallery Kalhama & Piippo, Helsinki; Papyrophilia (curated by Zavier Ellis), CHARLIE SMITH london, London; 2008: Be Stiff (Solo), Wohnmaschine, Berlin; Prague Triennial, National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Prague; 2007: Malkunst 2, Contemporary Painting in Berlin, Fondazione Mudima, Milano; The Dream of Putrefaction, The Metropole Galleries, Folkstone; 2006: The Hobby (Solo), Wohnmaschine, Berlin; Icons, Chung King Project, Los Angeles; 2005: Introspective Men, Madder 139, London; Schmidt, Tremlett, Tzamouranis, Wohnmaschine, Berlin; 2005: Faux Realism Part 2, The Rockwell Project, London; Faux Realism Part 1, The Royal Academy Schools Gallery, Hornsey; 2004: The Arrivals, The Pump House Gallery, London.

Awards & Residencies: 2004: The Gordon Luton Award for Fine Art Painter-Stainers.
Collections: Thomas Rusche, Münster, private collections throughout Europe

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Image Credits: 
1. Gavin Tremlett | Amusement 9 | 2010 | Oil, charcoal & graphite on paper | 52.5x42cm
2. Gavin Tremlett | Amusement 1 | 2010 | Oil, charcoal & graphite on paper | 154x100cm

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