I began Collector V whilst developing the first collection for Marios Schwab (Autumn Winter '08); these works filtered into Spring Summer '09. Taking Gustave Doré’s illustrations for the Bible, all surrounds are removed leaving a ghost of cloth and its forms, representing original sin. These also relate to the erotically charged patterns and folds in Japanese prints as well as to the history of cloth in religious iconography, painting and especially sculpture. They are a move from a two-dimensional space to a three-dimensional world. Equally concealing and revealing, the middle layer of medieval patterns draws the gaze through the lines into the flesh behind, the repetitive nature of design mimicking the banality of the source material. ...more

More about Collector V
Collector V animation, Tom Gallant, 2011. Commissioned for online exhibition. © Tom Gallant.

Collector V

The Collector V: And It Came to Pass… featured a series of large-scale works demonstrating my continued preoccupation with the traditions of collaged paper constructs. Using extracts of pornographic magazines to depict flesh and the abstracted body, these fragments were layered beneath carefully cut replications of cloth and cloaked forms. These figurations, sourced from Gustave Doré’s illustrations from the Bible, envelop the flesh tones in a series of caged contours, lingering as cadaverous entities within the frames. The simple folds of cloth, magnified and isolated, are seen grappling with the forms beneath them. Occasional hints towards the outline of a thigh, a shoulder, or even an architectural intrusion, offer a gentle indication of the form’s origin. The works, whilst they resist anatomical labelling, have an abstract sexual charge. Less clearly referential than previous works, they instead emphasise that which is simultaneously hidden and revealed.

Steeped in iconographic references, the cloaked forms rest in a state of suspended animation. They hint at that which they might conceal. From the outset, through the act of subtraction and in the precise cuts, the work enters a dialogue of spatial distancing, each fragmentation and layer conflating the foreground, middle and background further. Shadows, or vessels, of the forms they depict, these works place their emphasis on the power of negative space. Recalling Carlo Crivelli's paintings of religious stained glass windows, the symbolism inherent in the colour and iconography draws the viewer through metaphorical as well as literal layers of meaning.

Crafts Council - OnView Online