Robert Mapplethorpe: Night Work
This month I received a notice of a group show in London at the Alison Jacques Gallery titled Robert Mapplethorpe: Night Work and curated by Scissor Sisters. The show features a large selection of the late photographer’s work, as well as a selection of other artists that carry on some of the themes suggested by the photos. If you are going to be in London, the show is on until March 19th.
One of the artists in the show that caught my eye is Neil Gall. Gall employs a variety of methods in his practice, such as sculpture, photography, collage, drawing, and painting, in order to create works that refer back and forth from one medium to another.
His best-known work, and the pieces that have perhaps the clearest link to some of Mapplethorpe’s themes, are his S&M series of duct-taped balls that take on figurative qualities in his sculptures and paintings.
Gall starts by building his forms from simple materials around the studio. He photographs them, distorts them in collage and drawings, and paints photo-realist images of them. With some of the works he then makes a cast of the original construction and paints the new material to look like the original object. These layers of copies, constructions, and images are displayed alongside one another in gallery shows, confounding ideas of the subject and the “original.”