Gary Colclough
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Colclough’s artworks are closely finished geometric assemblages. They have the beauty of crafted objects, appearing self-contained and complete. Scrutiny reveals an equally engaging counter direction of things incomplete. Sides of framing have been taken away, structures returned to component parts, images have been sliced up, colours mixed out. Contradictory forces are at play, a flux of real and illusion, is it sculpture or picture? The artworks are made of hi-tech materials but mix in old world imagery. They look like functional objects in the way a sign does, but they don’t instruct. Quickly one notices how they resist revealing narratives that perhaps they seemed to offer, instead they exude a knowing silence.

What is this work suggesting and what is their silence saying? I’ll answer my own question to propose that signposts are a good metaphor for thinking about Colclough’s artwork and that the silence is the sound of thinking.

In a series of lectures dedicated to thinking about thinking entitled ‘What is called Thinking, the philosopher Martin Heidegger provokingly states: most thought provoking in our thought provoking time is that we are still not thinking. Heidegger wishes us to make an active leap into thinking, to consider thinking as a handicraft to be practiced, he likens it to a woodworker turning a piece of wood on a lathe. Thinking for Heidegger means the concrete seeing and saying of the way the world is, attentive to things as they are. He’s scathing about interests, which for him only relegates the interesting things to the ranks of indifference and soon to what is boring.

This way of thinking as doing, as lifestyle, chimes with Colclough’s works. Along the path (2017), shows a conventional image depicted in china blue monochrome cut across the diagonal by a metre of polished wood. What might have once been the frame is now a visual pun about linear time and distance. Sliced away on the other side of this dividing line are two blank triangles of green, colours that suggest something about foliage or hills. We are presented with an assembly of items that is both a landscape painting and a kit for thinking about landscapes. We’re being shown a seductive metaphorical space and a reminder of material fact. Colclough shows a dialogue that gets us thinking about being.

Excerpt from essay Signposts and Terror by Jeremy Akerman

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Across Gary Colclough’s artistic work, the architecture of seeing takes on a texture where multiple temporalities coalesce. The pictorial space is thus ‘shaped’ as both intimate ruin and subjectivized monument. If land is considered a forensic ground, Colclough draws out coded figures that disturb the boundaries between nature, culture and society. His view upon terrain renders landscape(s)-in-action - as matter that matters. Unlike the all-pervading machismo of the 18th century landscape painter, this artist privileges a choreography of fragments: the below-surface detail, a georgic imaginary, material symmetry, and those quiet yet apocalyptic scenes that expose humanity’s complex relations to ecology.

Working at the crossings of drawing and sculpture, Colclough creates support systems for his pencil drawings that often mirror viewing apparatus from the Victorian era - such as the Claude Glass, the photographic tripod, the heliograph and stereoscope. In staging inversed and doubled views, the ocular field is set into a diagrammatic relation of machinic and organic elements. His immersive compositions draw together aspects of geometry with detailed patterning echoing from the natural world.

Excerpt from essay Scaled Territories by Natasha Ginwala

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