A close-up of the 1998 series, Autistic Cocoon, by Malcolm Poynter, reveals the admired detail as a blanket covering of cars like a parking lot from nightmares or the traffic jam of the twentieth century. This is common man, stuck going to work or coming home. These heads are occupied by vehicular congestion. The eyes, that from a distance read as television screens are also cars, this time seen from above with the roofs forming rows of blank boxes with slightly rounded corners. The associations are numerous: mankind lost in the business of his comings and goings, the eventual choking pollution of progress, the scurry to stay in the game or, just like the never-ending background of motor vehicles - the impossibility of comprehending modernity. And this is only the ground, the skin on the head. The eyes are clichés, open or closed, the nose - a cartoon slash and with a tongue lolling out - or is it a deflated balloon? Man’s dehumanization is capped. Yet, these are not overly depressing pictures. The childlike rendition of a big simple head in story book colors or black and white with newspaper-transfer blur makes it palatable (as it is, simply there). Mankind is caught in his ability to get there.
Malcolm Poynter is British; close enough to a pervasive class system to comment upon it. In more recent series, his figures have had a royal mark upon them. They confront us with a contained snobbish formality. They are dressed in fine fabrics, fashioned from medieval patterns and are aloof, pale and distrustful of their contact with minions. Poynter's detail reminds us of the meticulous labor required to render regal creatures and the resulting stiffness seems a just punishment for their vanity.
Copyright © 2006, Headbones Gallery, The Drawers