Maureen Paley presents Andrew Grassie’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Grassie’s paintings recreate in precise detail photographs that he has taken himself, found on the Internet or sourced from archives. His work raises questions about the relationship between documented reality and constructed illusion and it is hard to distinguish his egg tempera paintings from the photographs they are based on.
The exhibition features seven new pieces – each depicting a view of one end of the artist’s studio that has been styled to create a fictional work space of another artist. The remains of labour are strewn around; tools, canvases, books, computers, lighting equipment etc. There are only the vaguest hints of artworks being made. They explore both fact and fiction in their deadpan rendering.
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Andrew Grassie began a series of ‘recordings’ as a way of breaking an impasse in his own art-making, an impasse due in part to believing in painting at a time when many did not. Leaving Saint Martin’s and the Royal College of Art, facing the void, he discovered an end-run to the tyranny of content by copying his own earlier work at 1:1, in oil, stroke by stroke. In making forgeries of his own paintings, the content of his painting (or at least their importance) instantly evaporated and only the practice of painting itself remained. This way of working evolved, and soon he was painting droll recordings of the spaces and places of the art world itself—gallery offices, storage areas, empty exhibition spaces, and fictional installations. Meaning and the responsibility implied by content were deferred… Yet even though it is a cleverly discursive tactic, Grassie nevertheless remains bound to Albers, Opalka, Morandi, and On Kawara in a shared faith in a practice of meditative repetition.
excerpt from Sculpting Time by Steven Holmes
Andrew Grassie lives and works in London. Selected solo exhibitions include Fabrication, Johnen Galerie, Berlin, Germany (2016); Andrew Grassie: Collected Works, Rennie Collection at Wing Sang, Vancouver, Canada (2012) (c); Archive, Johnen Galerie, Berlin, Germany (2010) (c); Andrew Grassie: Painting as Document, Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, UK (2009) (c), New Hang, Art Now, Tate Britain, London, UK (2005). Selected group exhibitions include Wundercamera, Telfair Museum, Savannah, Georgia, USA (2017); Proposition for an Infinite Garden, Government Art Collection, London, UK (2014); Building Blocks: Contemporary Works from the Collection, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, USA (2011); The John Kobal Award, The Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2009).© Andrew Grassie, courtesy Maureen Paley, London