Artistically promiscuous, Marcus Harvey's (Leeds, UK, 1963) work has ranged from highly worked figurative paintings to vital, impastoed oils of nudes delineated by black lines known as his Readers Wives, playful politicized sculptures as well as a powerful mosaic image of Margaret Thatcher.
The series of works for the exhibition Glass Paintings surrounds a theme which the artist began exploring a decade ago and is inspired by themes of domesticity and voyeurism. Through the prism of a textured glass door, intimate acts and objects are partly obscured - a woman on the toilet, a lone toilet roll, a child in a batman outfit. Some of the works, featuring masks and clowns, add another layer of disguise to unravel; in others, a candle and a skull pay homage to the Dutch tradition of still life and vanitas painting - a surprise note of gravitas.
The viewer, cast in the role of Peeping Tom, is encouraged to reread the image - which has in turn been warped both by the irregular patterned glass and the artist's own interpretation. It is a complex painterly experience - richer than the polished photorealist image at first suggests. "The actual painting is in a sense mechanical transcription," Harvey comments. "The exciting part is the performance behind the door."
Humorous, intriguing, and oddly recognizable - these works encourage us to recall similar intimate discoveries from our own pasts. "There is a kind of psychological familiarity with this kind of voyeuristic experience."
These three archival pigment prints entitled "Skull and Candle", "Batman", and "Skull" are accompanied by the signed copy of the publication produced in close collaboration with the artist on the occasion of the exhibition Glass Paintings.