The Drawers - Angela Grossmann   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Angela Grossmann

Current reality is a series of overlays on the past and the separation between the tenses is dependant on the conceptualisation of them. It is this overview of time and imagined space, alongside the rational capacity to anticipate that places us in the liminal position - on the threshold of knowledge, away from the beasts. Angela Grossmann depicts this wavering of tenses with her paintings on photographic images taken from the turn of the century. That she overlays the remnants of the past with images that can transmit a sensational message straight to the libido grants a dynamic to the work that is evermore poignant than the always present realisation that without effort, time is passing. Part of the appeal to the senses is derived from the handling of the paint. It signals the presence of a free hand, a self referential, libidinous messiness, a relish in the sensuality of paint.

Beauty is fleeting and the depiction of the world of beauty is an attempt to unfasten beauty from the embrace in the passage of time. This has been the subject of convoluted philosophical treatises that turn back into themselves in the ambitious task of pinning down what might be described as an allure comparable to an aura - outside of the subject, emanating from the matter and overriding the temporal. It is this elusive aura that is depicted in Grossmann's work and she does so by using the medium with metaphorical advantage. A drip, for instance, as it wanders leaves a trace in time, so does a spatter. The gestural application of paint speaks of a presence before solidification of the art work - that which becomes the arrested object. When energy is fastened to the object by way of the art making, there is room for desire to enter, an element of beauty.

Grossmann, herself, could be described as an Alpha Girl (the title of a series by the artist made in 2004) for as one of the Young Romantic Painters, she entered the art scene as the girl amongst titans and had no trouble keeping up with the boys. With a dextrous hand and facile bravado she created a 'look' that made her dripping young women into 'it girls' - saucy, cheeky and self assured even in the midst of tears or a nervous breakdown. Her figures embody the range of human emotions, pathetic to pithy, that embody everything that the title Young Romantic Painters could have hoped to invoke. Lounging superbly in attitudes gothic, gauntly adolescent, and egotistically whimsical; Grosmann's figures capture all of the highs and lows of yearning for impossible beauty.

Julie Oakes Copyright 2008 Headbones Gallery