Stories – Recent Paintings
4 June to 28 June 2008
Stories is a good title for Frank Litter's exhibition
as narratives and fictions are at the very heart of all historical, contemporary
and personal truths.
The paintings in this show initially look quite disparate – heads,
buildings, maps, caves and the aquarium but gradually the viewer becomes
aware they are linked by Littler's use of various formal and perceptual
Through these screens Littler invites us into a space which lies beyond
the surface of the picture plane, often an enclosed cave- like space where
the visual action is taking place. These screens are not constrained to
the surface but travel through the work to intersect as much as they overlay
the image. It is these points of disjuncture and rupture that draw attention
to our own 'reading' and our own 'seeing' of the painting before us.
We bring what we know of the world to our reading of a painting- it happens
in a moment and in the completeness of seeing but it also happens slowly
and over much a longer space of time. There is the experiential and there
is an analytical reading. Litter's painting does something strange - they
manage to sandwich both ways of reading together and fix them in the same
Littler's use of the picture planes is at the very heart of his work –
work that is about the actual language of paint and at the same time acknowledges
that the works must reflect the artist's own experience, interests, views
and concerns. These may not be in the forefront of his mind while painting
but instead pop up in the work less consciously than that. It is Littler's
belief that to be successful, a painting should stand alone - cut loose
from it cultural and art historical, political and personal contexts –
not that all of these factors don't add to a kind of understanding of
the work but to see them as the work itself is a mistake.
The title is also on the other hand a bit of a ruse. These paintings are
not didactic; the stories they tell are multi-layered, quirky and incomplete.
You take them in as a whole, the surface, the screen, the cave-like centre,
the various actions, and the ambiguous use of space, the paint and its
depicted forms - but as to what to 'read' this remains open-ended.
Littler 2005 Exhibition