press release

Hales Gallery is proud to present a solo show by Kirsten Glass. Glass first came to prominence for her eerie paintings in which groups of models conspire to lure the viewer into the paintings’ surface. These and other collage-based works made subsequently established her importance on the young London art scene.

This show, her first with the gallery, consists of four new large-scale paintings and a selection of smaller works made over the last two years. In these new paintings Glass’s fashion models are still actors posed to dramatise the glittering bleakness of advertising. Found objects are also introduced in the role of theatrical props, and the cut-and-paste procedure is employed as a series of edits, all rearranged and reworked within the arena of painting until a story is found.

The final works emerge from the contradiction between intense involvement in the telling of a personal story and, simultaneously, an awareness of camp self-parody: these are magazine-inspired teenage dreams behind which lie an unsettling sense of vacancy.

Introducing domestic elements such as a fire surround, picture frames and curtains within the ambiguous painterly space, the works set up reference to an interior façade, while various “dead” items (printed photos, painted figures, varnished leaves, dolls, stopped clocks and taxidermy) act as substitutes, vessels placed to conduct the viewer’s gaze through the endless game of the surface.

These elaborate dream narratives are held in place with a formal rigor reminiscent of Rauschenberg, in which structural decisiveness projects a tone that borders on aggression.

Glass was born in Belfast in 1975 and studied at Chelsea College of Art (BA) and Goldsmiths (MA). Selected exhibitions include both Art and Fashion and Electric Dreams at the Barbican (2002), Becks Futures 2002, ICA, London, Analysis of Beauty, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2004) and PHOTO-MUTO, Hales Gallery (2005).

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Kirsten Glass