Thicc Bill’s Adventure, Neal Tait’s first solo-show at Tintype presents a selection of recent paintings and works on paper.
Writer and novelist Michael Bracewell describes Neal Tait’s paintings…”as having the precision and abbreviated logic of remembered details in a dream….Each has a very definite mood, and within it, each occurrence, however strange, advances with its own assurance and self-possession.” Dreamlike, folkloric, fabular – all appropriate descriptions for what Bracewell calls the Tait terrain in which recognisable images have a mischievous logic or sense of foreboding.
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For the past year Neal Tait has been living and house-sitting on a friend’s boat. A boat, in winter, is cold, and the way Tait describes it has something of existence stripped to essentials; the boat containing a bed and a lamp and not much else. Metaphorically a raft, a gangplank – near streets but adrift from them – a precarious balance but one that offers a kind of freedom and resourcefulness.
Perhaps not co-incidentally, Tait has often placed boats in his paintings; he comments that they offer a good form, a potent shape. The paintings shift – seemingly effortlessly – between figurative and abstract. Tait’s pictorial syntax includes Bill the Hunter, trophies, the skull of death, jointed puppets, rag dolls, hats, boots, children, babies, tanks; a conjunction of innocence and violence.
Neal Tait’s practice is driven by an intense engagement with painting as process, ‘allowing the forms within his paintings to pursue their own evolution onto being or non-being, sense or non-sense, as determined by the act of painting itself’ (Bracewell). Tait describes it as a time capsule of thought.
NEAL TAIT lives and works in London. His work has been exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally. Solo exhibitions include Any Light Passing Thru sets Fire to my Eyes, A–Reetrospective, Peles Empire, London, 2013; Neal Tait, new paintings, Galleria Marabishi, Bologna; The Battle for Middle You, Simon Oldfield, London, 2012; Les Toits de Parise, Whitecube, London (2009); Neal Tait, Sies+Höke Gallery, Dusseldorf, 2008; The Dressmaker Who Lived on the Outskirts, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery New York 2008; Dark Mutter, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Belgium 2008; Tambalamb, ACME, Los Angeles 2007.
His work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions including Encounter I May or May Not Have Had with Peter Berlin, curated by Caroline May, Vamiali’s, Athens 2017; The Wanderings of Oisin curated Joshua Sex, Basic Space, Dublin, 2015; From fly on the wall, to fly in my soup, curated Phillip Allen, Galerie Dukan,Paris, 2015; Suspicion, Jerwood Space Gallery London, 2014; Mudlark, Fold Gallery, London, 2013; The World of Gimel. How to Make Objects Talk Kunsthaus Graz, Austria 2011; Watercolour at Tate Britain in London 2011, A Terrible Beauty is Born, 11th Lyon Biennale in France 2011; Among Flesh, Alison Jacques Gallery, London 2011; Hoch Hinaus at Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland 2005; Direct Painting at Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany, 2004, Painting on the Move at Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland 2001.
Neal Tait’s work is in the British Council Collection and the Kunsthalle Mannheim Collection. Publications include Neal Tait, published by Other Criteria with texts by Michael Bracewell and Jeremy Millar. Neal Tait, published by the Douglas Hyde Gallery, with texts by John Hutchinson and Peter Pakesch.Courtesy of the artist and Tintype, London