9 April – 15 May 2014
Frances Kyle Gallery, Maddox Street, London
From the Post Pop Epiphanies exhibition catalogue:
Connoisseur of the curious, the arcane and sometimes the outright preposterous, Jon Wealleans has been mining two complementary seams for Post-Pop Epiphanies at Francis Kyle Gallery. For the new still lifes and interiors he has taken his inspiration, first, from the numerous and diverse collections of objects (agglomerations, as he prefers to call them) – a mingling of cherished finds with ephemera ranging from tin toys to rare Art Deco pieces, Jugendstil vases and pop artefacts to Victorian and contemporary tourist paraphernalia – which have caught his fancy over the years and now preside like an occupying army over most of his living space. In tandem, he has turned his subversive compositional sense to the plants and flowers which everywhere border and embrace this space.
In a vision unmistakeable in its brilliance of palette and unremitting intensity of focus, we are invited with Wealleans’ Post-Pop Epiphanies to share the world of a distinguished, idiosyncratic architect turned painter of still lifes and interiors. With such a career trajectory, it is only fitting, indeed, that two Italian designers stand out for him as his chief influences: Alessandro Mendini, creator of mobile infinito, philosophic furniture, and most specially Ettore Sottsass, progenitor of the Memphis movement and super-sensual apostle of creative kitsch favouring artificial materials such as plastic laminates.
‘I have attempted a subversion of the Old Master still life tradition, but what astonishes me is that while modern interiors are full of memento mori – there hangs the never-used nutmeg grater that tells us our meals are numbered – there isn’t a single available light source. Natural daylight, from a window, falling from left to right across skulls, fruit and cloth – these are recognised as the essential signifiers of mortality: the eye reads the image as a narrative of life itself, with a beginning, middle and end.
‘Now, instead of this quite orderly basis for sciagraphy – the creation of perspective by the rendition of light and shade – the painter is faced with hideous sciamachy: he must fight with the scores of jinn-like, wispy little shadows that are created by those cursed halogen bulbs!’
To view the full catalogue click here