Brand New Gallery is proud to present Splays, Gabriel Hartley’s solo show.
Splays refers to the idea of the spreading out and expansion of body parts. The concise titles chosen by Gabriel Hartley for his works allude to the possible interpretations of his pieces, only apparently consigned to an abstract existence, for the simple spontaneity with which they become associable to the physical surrounding environment which, however, seizes the surreal references. This title manifests and justifies the artist’s choice to literally display his works on the table-cloth like prints, laid out as if they were splayed on the scanner.
The exhibition is presented as an elaborate project, composed by canvases and sculptures conceived through a tight dialogue amongst the different components. Hartley’s works evoke identifiable forms and, in the same way, embrace features of abstractism. The artifacts placed on the plinths are realized with discarded polyurethane foam, of which the artist humanizes its pre-existing structure, fixing its traits though the use of resin and fiberglass. The final outcome recalls traditional materials of sculptural language, as stone and marble, and leaves the final, more or less pictorial coverage the task to accentuate its analogies. These primordial figures are arranged onto digital prints disposed to cover the bases, that reminisce their forms and intentions. The prints result from the scanning of the crumpled up pieces of paper together with the same polyurethane foam used for the sculptures. The relationship between the so positioned works and the bases onto which they rest on inverts the creative process, inasmuch it recalls the scanner as a tool capable of producing a flat image of a sculptural form. The canvases on the walls evoke the same process, referencing the light produced by the same scanner. Hartley produces his works expressing himself through a strong and linear gestuality, that plays with space, restituting flat but at the same time thick surfaces. The artist adopts a sculptural procedure also in his canvases, using a spray paint finishing that operates on the thick substrate of oil paint, weakening but at the same time reinforcing it. This process confers his paintings a distilled light adept to hide and reveal, staging the illusion of making the painted canvases look like printed ones. The monumental colored paper sculpture whose measures are inversely proportional to the lightness of the chosen material, wraps up the artist’s imaginary trip, who consciously accompanies the spectator in a crumpled dimension.
Gabriel Hartley was born in London in 1981. After having obtained his bachelor in 2005 at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, he concludes an MA at the Royal Academy School in London. His works have been exhibited in important galleries and included in international exhibitions. He lives and works in London.