The Parfitt Gallery is pleased to present In Residence Part I, an exhibition of etchings, paintings and drawings by Matthew Krishanu. With a continued interest in portraiture, most of the work is developed from drawings relating to memories. Krishanu looks to abstract scenes from everyday life by transforming them into something strange. This removes them from an immediate reality and questions the way we exist within a sparse, intimate space. He is interested in iconic scenes which look like they could be painted in any era, allowing stories to arise from the work. The stories are ambiguous as they are suggestive rather than an explanation, working in an experiential way. Krishanu said “I care very much about the people that feature in my work, and feel my best work is when I care about the subject. This creates an intimacy between the work and the viewer, allowing the viewer to feel like they know something about the person and to identify with the scene”.
In Franz Kafka, Günther Anders wrote: “Certainly, there is something abstract about the figures Kafka draws. But this abstraction must be understood less as a literary convention than as a real condition. Whereas allegory presents humanized abstractions, Kafka’s stories represent abstract human beings. These men and women are ‘abstract’
in the sense suggested by the original Latin word abstrahere: they have been removed, torn away from the fullness of human existence.” In a similar way Krishanu removes “the fullness of human existence” and makes the scenes empty and abstract creating a passive, melancholic space for the figures to occupy. The work sits at a minimised point, allowing a platform for meaning to emerge through the emotive response of the viewer.
Explaining his concepts Krishanu said “My work, whether it is in painting, drawing or etching, tends to feature people I know, usually in an interior scene. The space is often animated by objects that act like props – a bit like a stage set. I am drawn to sparse interiors and like the work to be stripped of inessential details, so that the person, their face, and the atmosphere of the picture come through most strongly. I paint on a domestic scale because I want people to relate to the work on a daily basis, and through the size, encourage people to draw near and view the work in detail.”
Krishanu created the etchings for this exhibition whilst an Artist in Residence within Croydon Higher Education College’s Fine Art Degree programme. This Artist in Residence position has been set up to enable an ongoing selection of artists to create their work alongside Art and Design undergraduates. The artists selected may be in the early stages of their careers or have established international reputations, in either case they propose a project or set of work that will be produced and exhibited in the Parfitt Gallery and offer formal and informal engagement with students on an ongoing basis. Creating work alongside such a range of artists offers Art and Design students a unique opportunity to gain insight into professional practice within the art world and as such greatly enhances their educational experience at Croydon Higher Education College.
Matthew Krishanu completed an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2009. He has exhibited widely, including in London, Birmingham, and Lahore. Selected exhibitions include: Fake Modern, Camden Arts Centre, 2010; Creekside Open (selected by Jenni Lomax), APT Gallery, London, 2009; The Mausoleum of Lost Objects, Iniva, London, 2008; Let Me Tell You, Whitechapel Gallery, 2008; Creekside Open x 2 (selected by Victoria Miro), APT Gallery, London, 2007.
The Parfitt Gallery is located in the Higher Education building of Croydon College that offers over 30 higher level courses through its Higher Education and its Skills & Enterprise College. There are currently over 1,000 students on courses at Croydon Higher Education College. For more information or to order a prospectus please contact 020 8760 5914 or go to www.croydon.ac.uk
Michael Hall MA RCA
Parfitt Gallery Curator