Cullinan + Richards Artlab: Objects from the old regime/Dolly Thompsett: New Paintings
Jun 3 - Jul 23, 2005
Dolly Thompsett: New Paintings

Dolly Thompsett: New Paintings

Ritter/Zamet is pleased to present a two-part exhibition including the latest project in the UK by artists Charlotte Cullinan and Jeanine Richards collaborating as Artlab and a series of new paintings by British Goldsmiths 2004 graduate, Dolly Thompsett, with her first exhibition at the gallery.

With their characteristic assembled environments, Cullinan + Richards Artlab use the practice of art to dislocate traditional distinctions across various artistic, cultural and ideological disciplines. For Artlab, the relationship between the object and idea of what it represents should be fluid and unpredictable, allowing the exchange of discrete histories in the generation of a fresh dialogue and flow of information. For their first show at Ritter/Zamet, they will transform an area of the gallery space into a kind of showroom for their sculptures, paintings, drawings and photographs drawn for the most part from past Artlab exhibitions, performances and events. By removing and then re-establishing context, the individual elements function much like film props held in transition as well as documenting traces of their own past.

Since they began working together as Artlab in 1998, Cullinan and Richards have exhibited widely in the UK and internationally including solo shows at Mobile Home and INIVA in London, Caltech, Los Angeles and the Schnitt Ausstellungsraum in Cologne. They have also been included in numerous group shows including Documentary Creations at the Kunstmuseum Luzern, the 11th Biennial of Visual Art, Pancevo, Serbia in 2004, Ambulantes at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Seville and Edge of the Real at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. They are currently taking part in Leaps of Faith, a site-specific project in Cyprus.


Dolly Thompsett’s paintings are compelling amalgamations of the material and the illusory, uniting intrepid technical virtuosity with disquietingly dreamlike subject matter. Thompsett constructs her paintings layer to layer with gestural brushstrokes, fine drawing and dustings of luminous glitter interspersed with poured resin to form a solid stratum of materials. The overall effect is at once beguiling and disconcerting, generating a tension back and forth as the subject is constantly displaced and re-synchronized across alternating planes.  

With her latest paintings, Thompsett has drawn inspiration from the famous photographs of Brazilian gold miners by photographer Sebastião Salgado. Focusing on fragments from the images, she has transformed the documentary original into intricate painted landscapes referencing the scenes of infernal human toil and struggle from the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel as well as more popular culture imagery such as Cecil B. DeMille’s epic cinematic set-pieces and, more recently, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.  Yet, for all their pathos, the paintings also compound an elemental balance of humanistic spirit and co-operation culminating in a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.