The elemental energy of landscape and ritual forms much of the focus of Charles Gore’s
work in this exhibition. His interest in art, performance and ritual, evolving from
his initial training at Chelsea Arts College and the Wimbledon School of Arts, and
later studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), has shaped the
paintings, photographs and music which have been brought together for ‘Art in Unconventional
Spaces’. These dynamic compositions frame moments of perception, but continue to
expand through their engagement with the viewer. Such expressiveness is difficult
to ignore: Gore’s work explores the complex relationship between art as figurative
object and art as subjective expression and experience, a relationship particularly
evident in his African photographs, many of dance and ritual, which capture the rhythm
of intensely-felt emotion, freedom and joy.
The subtle rhythms of colour and space are also expressed in Gore’s landscape, still
life and portrait painting. Although largely figurative in its representation, it
moves towards an abstraction of the energy latent in the scenes with a paring away
of detail, and an intensity of expression & vitality of colour which reveal the pulse
at the heart. Perspective seems, at times, almost to dissolve, so that one finds
oneself at the centre of the painting. The strength of the brush stroke in the French
landscapes also contributes to this immediacy, the paint itself becoming expressive,
and the unusual tonal quality of the pictures adds to their depth. This is particularly
true of one of the smaller landscapes, ‘The Road to Saignon’. There is also considerable
range of scale: the large portrait of Nick Danziger, for example, strongly expressive
of the brooding presence of its subject, shows Gore’s versatility, its energy combined
with a stronger and more classical sense of restraint.
This is an exhibition which invites the viewer to reconsider his relationship to
the art displayed and the space it inhabits. Music specially composed for the event
accompanies the presentation of slides posing questions both light-hearted and penetrating
about the nature of this relationship, inviting us to see with a quieter eye but
also with an energised perception.
The formal neutrality of the exhibition space is instantly transformed by the penetrating
rhythmof simple drum beat which opens the presentation, drawing us into a sense
of the deeper and elemental rhythms which shape the expression of life in all its
forms: art as a way of life, captured in the rhythms of custom, or art reflecting
the rhythms of landscape and form.
Charles Gore’s questioning of the purpose of art invites the consumer and art critic
to look anew. ‘Art in Unconventional Spaces’ liberates us from the label and the
price tag – all works are presented untitled, and are not for sale during the exhibition.
There is no repeating formula, but always the sense of exploration and enquiry. It
is this spirit which gives the exhibition its homogeneity and frees the paintings
from any dependence on the space in which they are exhibited.
‘Art in Unconventional Spaces’ also reminds us that connection with the deeper rhythms
expressed in these works can be made in the most unlikely places, that space itself
is fluid, constantly redefined by the objects and people which occupy it. The aptly
named ‘Think’ venue is perfect for this experiment: minimal and spacious in its design,
it provides a comfortable and convivial arena for the exploration of these ideas.