Fishermen, Strawberry and Devil Crab
18 June – 11 July 2010
Private View: Thur 17 June 6-9pm
Gallery open: Fri-Sun 12-6pm
From out of the depths of Michael Ajerman's boldly expressionistic brush strokes and dark, velveteen daubs, intriguing scenarios are being played out. In his distinctive settings, clues are scattered around, with everyday objects becoming intensely significant in some unknown psychodrama. His figures, meanwhile, take centre stage and emerge from their painterly backgrounds, appearing to have authentic back-stories and a real life beyond their stretchers. Long after leaving the exhibition you will still be wondering what those characters are up to.
Ajerman's sub-text-subjects, from the everyday banal (a coat hanger) and wry Americana (a pumpkin) to the seemingly sexually explicit, are all rendered with a lusciously gooey, yet considered, painterly knack. Assertive mark making, considered composition and captivating situations are all added in just the right measure, to make up a veritable gumbo stew of associations with an unforgettable flavour.
The title Fishermen, Strawberry and Devil Crab is the name of a track from Porgy and Bess (Ajerman cites the Miles Davis / Evans version). He claims the song has the emotional range that he is aiming for in this body of work and he adds ‘Gerschwin was an American who worked within the range of traditional European and American music and spun it on its head, opening it up to so much more.' This American influence overlays much of Ajerman’s work and is especially apparent in his ongoing series of pumpkin paintings made each year after Halloween, the most recent of which – Citadel – is featured in this show.
Michael Ajerman was born in Bronx, New York and now lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Third Floor' at Marco Rossi Arte Contemporanea, Verona, Italy; Jerwood Project Space, London and Rothschild Fine Art, Tel Aviv, Israel. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Kunskog’, 500 Dollars, London and ‘The Threadneedle Painting Prize’, Mall Galleries, London. In September 2010 Third Floor is showing at Eventi Nove Arte Contemporanea, Torino, Italy and in December Ajerman has a solo show at Toomey Tourell Fine Art in San Francisco, USA.