Hales Gallery is pleased to present TOLD, a group exhibition that presents three artists who reconsider the role of narrative in contemporary painting. Each artist contemplates the nature of narrative and how it could be used and reinvented for a new era. Much of the work alludes to past structures of this genre but resists the smooth passage of the content. In its place, each artist has created their own form of anti-narrative through the use of biographical, subjective and personalised imagery. Disrupting and fragmenting the notion of a singular reading, the artists encourage the viewer to imagine.
Darina Karpov employs the languages of Russian folk tales, Czech and Russian animation and the drama of ballet and theatre design in her richly worked oil paintings, drawings and watercolours. Karpov talks of her work as "a kind of errant or fugitive storytelling rooted in digression." The paintings revel in decorative elements which contrast with suggestions of violence and unrest. As well as these direct influences, Karpov is an inveterate collector of photographs and magazine clippings which she keeps in a variety of boxes in her studio. Karpov draws inspiration from this fusion of diverse materials.
Laura Oldfield Ford is concerned with the multiple narratives of the city and the repressed desires of its inhabitants. Her drawings open up plural spaces in the urban landscape channeling the counter-narratives of riots, sex and substance abuse. The drawings are a reworking of the 'derive' or drift, a subjective process of mapping the city. Through Oldfield Ford's work we are able to track her movements through the brutalist architecture of the city and plot the lines of social antagonism.
Emma Talbot deals with a seemingly half remembered and reinvented family life of the suburbs in her melancholic, weird and touching dioramas. There is a nostalgic air about them that suggests a childhood in the 1950's/ 60's or 70's and a suffocating sentimentality of an old fashioned girls comic book. Talbot uses this aesthetic to great emotional effect in her shorthand paintings created with light and accurate brushstrokes taken from her limited colour palette. Whilst the pieces initially give the impression of the conventional logic of a strip cartoon, Talbot often deviates from the most obvious and direct route and crams the works with fragmented text, pattern and an attention to period detail.
Darina Karpov studied on the MFA programme at Yale. Karpov has recently been awarded The MacDowell Colony Residency (2011), the Virginia Center for Creative Arts Residency (2011) and received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2009/10. Her work is included in the West Collection, Zabludowicz Collection and the Vilardell Collection. Karpov lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.
Laura Oldfield Ford studied at the RCA, London. Oldfield Ford work can currently be seen as part of an Arnofini billboard project around Bristol. Oldfield Ford collected Savage Messiah zine texts will be published later this year by Verso and her works are included in the V&A museum collection, London. Oldfield Ford lives and works in London, UK.
Emma Talbot studied at the RCA, London. Her work can currently be seen inThe Life of the Mind, The New Art Gallery Walsall and will be included in the forthcoming The Power of Paper exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery, London. Her works are included in the Roberts Collection and The Saatchi Collection. Talbot lives and works in London, UK.