Looking at painting always involves perception and interpretation, but G L Brierley’s convoluted pictures seem defined by their capacity to trigger pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon whereby a viewer recognises shapes in abstract patterns. The artist constantly teases our imagination, for example adding to Supplacey (2009) a vaginal aperture, and to Baobola (2010) a penile nose. As this game of recognition unfolds, so does Brierley’s freak show. Each ‘specimen’ – the artist calls them ‘paint personalities’ – is represented on a stage like a monstrous performer, available on demand for perverse viewing pleasure.
If her paintings are fetishes, they also suggest that the pictorial act is, in itself, fetishistic. The artist embraces paint as a base matter – the word comes from mater, the mother – and a tool for frenetic sensorial experimentations. It’s poured, scratched, dissolved. Colours that wouldn’t normally sit together are forced to mix, creating a dazzling array of accidental patterns, highlighted by lovingly applied glazes. Ripple by ripple, drop by drop, Brierley’s painting invents its own language; painting doesn’t simply exist, it becomes.
G L Brierley currently has work in the Walker Gallery, Liverpool as part of the John Moores Painting Prize and the Liverpool Biennial and has previously shown nationally and internationally including at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, The Louise T Blouin Foundation, London, Natalia Goldin, Stockholm and Whitebox, New York.
G L Brierley
Madder 139, October 8 – November 28
1 VYNER STREET LONDON E2 9DG
T+44 (0)20 8980 9154
35 x 30cms
oil on brass