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Abyssal Wolpertinger



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Art Exhibition of Alex Heatons recent work concerned with the mythology of european forest folklore and mountaineering romanticism. Work shown will be a selection of prints and paintings.

Please save the date for the opening of Alex Heatons solo Exhibition-

Abyssal Wolpertinger

Private view- 20th July 2010.
6pm untill 9pm
Gallery opening hours-Daily 12 to 11pm

Please join the facebook group for more information and updates and to invite others along.

Medcalf Gallery,
38/40 Exmouth Market,
Clerkenwell,
London,
EC1R 4QE.

Music will be provided by Prima Volta and Refreshments will be served


 

The Abyssal Wolpertinger (Crisensus bavaricus)dwells in the dark wooded recesses of hidden valleys, lost frontiers and disused climbers huts. As a creature that once roamed extensively in the sprawling Hercynian forest of Eurasia, they are now seldom seen. Having instead retreated to their alpine chasms and cliff top last redoubts, clinging on where only climbers and the odd lostrambler dare to tread. Their only known relatives in the natural world being a Norwegian cousin, the Lemming that every year throws itself from cliffs in vast numbers to certain death for unknown reasons. The wolpertinger is for me both the starting point and end game to my recent paintings for these reasons he is a salvationist not a fatalist like the suicidal lemming. After coming across them on numerous wanderings through the alps, but never really getting a good look at one, I finally managed to capture a few shots near the Königsseeby luring a small pack out of a spruce thicket to nibble on my lunch of bauernschmaus. They represent the uncategorized and undiscovered in nature and landscape painting. They hint at what could be should one get lost down the wrong track, not havingall the answers, like why and how these places are the way they are? This is what draws me to paint them in the romantic tradition.

The more one looks into it, the more countries seem to have their own bastard animal to love and scorn. At home we have the Scottish Haggis, a three legged furry thing that scuttles round the contours of the Glens and is also a much loved national dish of offal. Sweden has the Skvader, a half-grouse/rabbit beastie. The deep south of America has the Jackalope, a half rabbit/doe incarnation. Their legacy could however be one of eternal return as these animals, forever breeding in the dank shadows of pine stumps create ever-changing new variants on and on for a thousand years until everything is watered down to a pissy swill of pig-dog cabbage water. They hold something of the cautionary fables from the Brothers Grimm and crop up in a few of their stories under other names. Some are said to be kind, bringing scared goats back to the hearth and helping lost children find their mothers. Some are evil and have the mark of Lucifer in their hoofs and goat horns. We should be wary of those as they will steal climber’s bootlaces and whittle down their alpenstocks to matchsticks.

The Mountain Vision

Some important German writer, whose name escapes me, once wrote; the most important thing is the journey, not the final destination. On this note I’d like to speak a little more about the hilly paintings. As a sometime mountain wanderer what always draws me up and out of the humid shadowy valleys towards summits is the quality of the light in these rare-ified atmospheres. The desire to capture in oil the transience of glaciers and snow pack, as water trapped in a frozen state is what these works are preoccupied with. The work is minimal yet maximal, dead flat, and a collection of seemingly random marks that become optically a complex surface maze of gapping crevasses and windslab. This feeling is something I wish to communicate on canvas. The particular language of seracs, arêtes, and corniced ridges is what the new work concerns itself with. By sending the viewer to such places I hope to give them a glimpse of the cold, raw power that flows down from these heights. In such places everything except the continuation of existence is rendered trivial (simply breathing and putting each foot forward is often all one can manage) and this for many climbers is the reason why they are there, a stolen moment to stand upon a pinnacle of escapism from their weaknesses and themselves. To a non-climber this rational is a hard thing to communicate, and I feel I can only really do this justice on the canvas itself.

The depiction of mountains and forests as great chasmus void’s to throw oneself in is not a new idea, nor a particularly revolutionary one. The chance for suicide, be that visually or as a reality is what makes the sublime a reality and drives its conceptual force. But for me it seems to sum up the hopes and fears of longing from the trapped city dweller. Hung over the landscape as a throne to us - the Godly feeling we are overwhelmed with by experiencing such height and observing from a new angle. Therefore the nearer we are to death, perhaps as well the nearer we are to perfection. The work gives us an extremely vivid image of a place some of us would love to be and some of us would hate to be. Either way... the image is deeply moving and thought provoking. This transience of being reflects my own experience of nature where ones self-existence is not permanent and can be lost without any warning.

Nighttime Vistas

The climber and writer Frank Smythe in his book the Spirit of the Hills, talks about setting out at night to climb whilst the boulders and lurking hazards are firmly frozen in place prior to sun rise. This alone is reason enough for climbing at such a Godless hour. But what fascinates me is the magnetic feeling of mass mountains emit when scaled at night with only a headlamp. Schiehallionin the Scottish highlands was used to measure the average mass of rock and thuscalculate the circumference of the earth by its gravitational effect on a pendulum. If a mass of mineral and ice can have this effect on a small apparatus, what could the effect be on our finely tuned mental synapses?  The paintings are in this way a landscape of shadow and mental mapping where negative space and sounds are the only tangible dimensions. The rush of a tumbling torrent bouncing down a moraine situates one in a space of your mind that in its blackness becomes less un-clear and only the cold touch of glistening ice on a slab can show what is in your immediate surrounds.

Threads

My paintings are evocative of past epochs and at once serve to remind us of the legends associated with the discovery of beauty in the hills. Painting in the vanitas tradition of the northern renaissance wunderkammers makes us confront the cruel humiliation of modelling many dead animals to amuse the child in us. We are reminded of our own mortality and fragility at other people’s pre-dispositions or butt-ended jokes. Cryptozoology and the study of mystical animals presents us with a way of romanticising the world much in the way Goethe and Caspar David Freidriech did. Once, people were certain that the Matterhorn was the highest mountain in the world, and a city of superbeings lived on its summit. The Alps were an unassailable wilderness filled with dragons and bolder throwing giants.  Our horizons have certainly shrunk, but this work asks us, could their still be unexplained myths like boggarts and giests dwelling in the wildernesses.  A re-evaluation of our reality is under way and a new yearning for such an intact magical world. One thing is clear: the idyllic legends of past times are in touch with people’s dreams. They still spirit us away into worlds, which are better than the world we live in. Only, don’t tell too many people about such things as by discovering the truth, we are all contributing to their demise, which for me is the paradox of beauty, its self. Fragile and un-permanent like a stuffed up silly animal.

These paintings are evocative of past epochs and at once serve to remind us of the legends associated with the discovery of beauty in the hills. Painting in the vanitas tradition of the northern renaissance wunderkammers makes us confront the cruel humiliation of modelling many dead animals to amuse the child in us. We are reminded of our own mortality and fragility at other people’s pre-dispositions or butt-ended jokes. Cryptozoology and the study of mystical animals presents us with a way of romanticising the world much in the way Goethe and Caspar David Freidriech did. Once, people were certain that the Matterhorn was the highest mountain in the world, and a city of superbeings lived on its summit. The Alps were an unassailable wilderness filled with dragons and bolder throwing giants. Our horizons have certainly shrunk, but this work asks us, could their still be unexplained myths like boggarts and giests dwelling in the wildernesses. A re-evaluation of our reality is under way and a new yearning for such an intact magical world. One thing is clear: the idyllic legends of past times are in touch with people’s dreams. They still spirit us away into worlds, which are better than the world we live in. Only, don’t tell too many people about such things as by discovering the truth, we are all contributing to their demise, which for me is the paradox of beauty, its self. Fragile and un-permanent like a stuffed up silly animal.

Music Dj- Set by Prima Volta
Join us for electronic body music profiting from the efficacy of Do It Yourself methodology..... 
romanticism, science fiction, electronic, robotics, nuclear.

Playing the best of contemporary leftield disco as well as a selection of late 70's and early 80's post punk, New Romantic, New York No Wave, Disco Nodisco and electronic music from all over the world, with a BIG nod to Steve Strange and Rusty Egans BLITZ and BILLIES clubs of '79-'80. Genres will include electro, minimal wave, minimal synth, new wave, italo, darkwave. A big emphasis on tracks that include the use of analog snthesizers and rhythm boxes.

Free alcoholic refreshments will be served