Open Frequency 2009: Giles Eldridge selected by Paul Stone
Giles Eldridge, Lord Lucan, 2007. 150cm x 100cm
Paul Stone profiles the work of Giles Eldridge
Giles Eldridge plucks his images from a variety of places: some refer to famous or political subjects whilst others are anonymous or taken from cultural sources such as art and architecture. Similarly, he employs different techniques to render these subjects. Each individual painting or drawing maintains its autonomy but is also part of a continual body of works. Eldridge sees these as a contingent group of works rather than a series.
‘It is this contingency that I am particularly interested in since it contradicts the historical singularity of the idea of Painting with a supposed notion of truth. Painting is on a slippery surface where it can be utilised to almost any end. If this is accepted then no other absolute claims can be made for it. This assertion does not destroy its aesthetic quality, it extends the possibility for Painting’.1
At any one time, Eldridge can be cross-referencing literally hundreds of works on canvas and paper in his studio. He is interested in exploring the relationship that is set up between the different pieces and their styles, generating an overall structure to his body of work that is based on difference and variables rather than singularity. What could be seen as an apparent lack of continuity by some is, for the artist, what gives his work its shape: ‘For me, the structure is more about dialectics than dialogical narrative but is at any event concerned with subjective reading’.2
Likewise, Eldridge’s titles tend to be fluid in nature – a title might refer to a grouping of many works within the one exhibition or an individual piece might ‘borrow’ its name from a passage in a book, a song lyric, or other similar source. The work refuses easy definitions and exists in a zone of slippage, where multifarious and fragmented styles and content co-exist.
Initially, Eldridge’s work may appear equivocal, even evasive, but what he is in fact doing is challenging the empirical nature of ‘the image’. The operation of the work resides in the pictures, their articulation within each new exhibition, their relationship to each other and the space that they occupy as an integrated but fragmented structure. He manages to create a space where the viewer is invited to create their own schema from the drawings and paintings.
Paul Stone, April 2009
1 Statement by the artist, Art Futures, Bloomberg SPACE, London, 2008
Giles Eldridge (b. 1965, Sheffield) studied at Sheffield City Polytechnic (1990-1993) and has exhibited widely in the UK. Recent solo exhibitions include Giles Eldridge, Gimpel Fils, London (2008), Non-Isotropic Drawings, Bloc Space, Sheffield (2006), and Atelier Gilles, Hat on Wall Gallery, London (2003). Selected group exhibitions include Art Futures, Bloomberg SPACE, London (2008), The Golden Record, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2008), Peer Esteem, Five Years Gallery, London (2007), Salon 7, Seven Seven Contemporary, London (2007), and Celeste Art Prize 07, Truman Brewery, London & Lyon and Turnbull, Edinburgh (2007).
About Paul Stone
Paul Stone has been based in Newcastle upon Tyne since 1986, moving to the city to study Fine Art at Northumbria University, both on the BA and MA courses. Having exhibited as an artist since 1990, he curated his first exhibition at Newcastle’s (now defunct) Zone photographic gallery in 1993. His involvement in other projects includes time as a Co-Director and Curator of Waygood Gallery and Studios, Newcastle (1997-2001), Newcastle Curator for the LMN (Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle), a cross-regional project consisting of exhibitions in each of the three cities (2000), Curatorial Advisor to HART, Hull (2001), co-curator and organiser of Vane Export (Stockholm, 1999) and Outlanders (Newcastle, 2001) for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, as part of their B4B pre-opening programme. He was awarded a Crafts Council Spark Plug Award for curatorial research in 2009 and is also an Editorial Production Assistant for a-n The Artists Information Company
Stone has been involved with Vane since the organisation’s foundation in 1997. There are three phases to the history of Vane’s activities. The first consisted of four large-scale annual events acting as an umbrella for a number of diverse exhibitions across the city of Newcastle and the surrounding region (1997-2000). The second was a series of curated exhibitions, often involving working with invited national and international partner curators or galleries (2002-03). Having staged the majority of exhibitions and events up until this point in temporary venues, the third phase was the opening of a permanent gallery space in Newcastle city centre in July 2005. The gallery presents around six exhibitions a year and participates in a number of international art fairs.
Open Frequency keeps you in touch with new developments in contemporary art practice from across the UK. The artists are selected and profiled by leading curators, artists and writers, presenting the work of artists to watch out for over the coming year. Open Frequency represents a forward-looking glance today of the artists who will be setting the agenda tomorrow.