Will Cotton at the Ronchini Gallery, London w1
It’s a rare thing to see an approach I genuinely haven’t seen before, but it happened this lunchtime. It doesn’t mean to say that it’s good or bad art but it is a relatively untrodden path. Actually I think it might be rather good. This is Will Cotton’s first UK solo show apparently and even though there are only four pictures in it I will remember it.
This is it – it’s quite simple. Oil paint applied to the canvas like cream on a pastry. Really using those techniques, not fetishising the technique and making the painting about the technique but actually using it to create a new surface, a new sensation. Thick and perfectly formed it seems truly illusory – I was lost for a moment in the recognition of the duality of the shape and that was quite interesting. The painting is like a relief really. It’s sickly for sure, but mesmerising. What slightly offsets it though is the other material that has a more realistic take on the themes.
On another wall there is a portrait of a woman with those little biscuits in her hair. Confectionery is presented as a badge and also as a place of escape. It is slightly unsettling – one of those subtly is it or isn’t it ironic works. I am a little lovesick at the moment and all this pink stuff had a strange pillowy restful quality that it might not have done had I been feeling my usual hard edge self. I am going to go and lie down now, and dream of a soft downy and creamy pink place.