Wall Paintings at Last Tango

Last Tango is pleased to present a week-long exhibition by Clare Goodwin, the artist’s first solo presentation devoted solely to her wall paintings. Known primarily for working on canvas in her Zürich studio, Goodwin will make four new wall paintings specifically for two of the project space’s four exhibition spaces. Responding to the particular characteristics of the building, Goodwin will test her hard-edged painterly language by working with a reduced palette and a new lexicon of spare forms applied directly onto the walls. While the dimensions of each image are set by the structural terms of the building, as the cellular blocks of simple ornamental interventions, one can imagine them endlessly in repeat.

In contrast to Goodwin’s previous wall works, this series comprises a range of pale tones and evermore pared back motifs. The precise but never quite canvas-perfect, application of coloured areas is effectively challenged by the addition of monochrome ‘whisper’ shapes. These curvilinear disruptors invite the suggestion of other forms of material enquiry and painterly languages. Each essentially flat image is imbued as a result with the sensory potential to fold, for example, in the manner of fabric or paper. While, in combination, the forms speak of the process of describing the real through breaking it down, like a visual fraction, into a series of referentially open minimal states. 

But however reductive they may appear, there is a sense of the human and the everyday about these (and all of Goodwin’s) works. This is implied through the fact of them being made by hand, but also because of the colours she chooses and the culturally-specific monikers she gives them. The series has been titled with names such as Dave and Helen, James and Gwen. With the abundance of flesh tones and dynamic forms in evidence, the abstract bodily choreography of Picasso’s ‘Demoiselles d’Avignon’ springs to mind, as does Guston’s cartoonification of real-world props.

With canvas and frame removed, the compositions sit boldly on the wall, becoming part of the fabric of the building, while also altering the spatial status quo. While they may be considered as standalone works, the group has been conceived as a single conversation about the potential of the painted image as part of the constructed environment. How is this painterly language perceived when the carrier of the image has changed? The works will only live for the duration of the exhibition, like Luna moths. Executed on-site from preplanned blueprints, they will be painted over once it comes to an end, remaining an invisible, wing-thin ingredient within the future project-life of the site. 

Text by Rebecca Geldard