Dolly Thompsett
Oct 10 - Nov 21, 2009
Dolly Thompsett
Dolly Thompsett
Yellow Sky, 2008
oil, acrylic, spraypaint, pencil, onyx powder,
glitter, gel on linen
82 x 67 cm (32 1/4 x 26 1/2 in.)

Dolly Thompsett

Ritter/Zamet presents British artist Dolly Thompsett's latest series of paintings accompanied by a short text by Roger Luckhurst, author of recent publications on the Victorian Gothic, Sci Fi and Contemporary Culture.

Dolly Thompsett creates intricate, tablet-like paintings by building up layers of paint interspersed with glassy resin laminates that allow the image to weave through the surface. Her detailed rendering, mysterious atmospheres and glistening textures allude to the high-gloss of Hollywood movies coupled with the traditions of Romantic painting.

By taking as their starting point photographs of both historical and recent events where ordinary people are overcome by extraordinary circumstances, her epic paintings articulate a moment of transformation or transcendence filtered through the artist's reflective subjectivity. Layering together special effects to express a sense of epiphany, each of Thompsett's works is rendered most intimate through her use of paint, and most seductive through her sampling of popular visual culture.

Thompsett's new paintings of intensely charged moments set against the eternal majesty of the universe are simultaneously meditations on the limitations of representational painting. Dark voids, celestial sweeps and misty phosphorescence engulf the vanishing traces of narrative still extant in the work. In her visionary worlds the conceptual, the psychological and the social mutate and figures melt, fade and dematerialize within grand, fantastical landscapes.

Yellow Sky appears to be fashioned from protoplasm. Thick, unctuous, resinous layers - each containing a different aspect of the picture - have been compounded together within a cold, stone-like, milky surface. Deep within the painted strata lie compressed forms, encapsulated like beetles in resin.  Delicate veins of paint and glitter and gossamer-like sweeps of pigment are suspended in transparent lacquer to form diaphanous spectral figures that appear to float through the depth of the surface.

Dolly Thompsett graduated from Byam Shaw (MA Fine Art) in 2000 and Goldsmiths College (Practice based PhD Fine Art) in 2004. She has had solo shows at Fred Gallery, London in 2007 and Ritter/Zamet in 2005. Recent group exhibitions include The Golden Record, Collective Gallery Edinburgh (2008), Emergency3, Aspex, Portsmouth (2007), Salon Nouveau, Engholm Engelhorn, Vienna (2007), The Wonderful Fund Collection on Tour, Pallant House, Chichester and Museum of Marrakech (2006) and When I lived in Modern Times, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2005).