Materiality, visuality, photography and the relation between painting and experience are the cornerstone of Alex Gough’s challenge in painting. His work traces a genealogy from artists such as Jules Olitski and Callum Innes. He works with a limited palette, determined to make his own paint so as to have control over the viscosity and intensity of experience. Working through the limits of the material and its handling is analogous for Gough to the ‘wilderness’ state, where no known foothold on meaning or known pathways can be found and must be worked out in the passage of the painting. The link visually through the limits of visual technology (the lens flare, the chemical burn of film/photopaper) ask interesting questions about how our visuality is informed.
An emphasis on openness, of not determining an outcome for the viewer, is key, and the viewer’s eye is not able to settle from one moment of experience to the next. There is a silence here, a determination to live in the paint that it is not possible to articulate in language.
Like his experience in Finnish Lapland, Gough is embedded in a tacit knowledge of experience through practice that transmits aspects of that knowledge to the viewer in the language (and reflections on this language) of painting.”
Written by: Andrew Hewish, Director of Center For Recent Drawing. 2014