Josh Lilley is delighted to announce the opening this Thursday 29th April, of the first solo exhibition by the young British painter Nick Goss.
Veverka will bring together a series of 12 paintings and 15 works on paper made by the artist over the past year. From intimate watercolours to three and a half metre long canvases, the exhibition will focus on Goss's continuing investigation into liminal areas and subcultures, where slight traces of human presence are played out amidst the highly contrasting textures of his paintings.
Goss's works are closely involved within this paradox of observation and memory, purposefully seeking out locations and subjects that co-exist between the landscape and the industrial, the recognisable and the ambiguous. In many respects, the romanticism of travel and the exotic are sustained throughout this practice, which incorporates the traditions of drawing, watercolour and oil paint. The echo of enigmatic, artistic figures such as Paul Gauguin and Henri Rousseau have played their part in inspiring these canvases, but also a whole raft of literary influences, including American authors John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy. All of which demonstrates the ability of the practice of painting to accommodate the historic alongside the contemporary, and to integrate the conceptual within the visual.
In 2009, Goss travelled the western coast of California, and it is this journey that provided the source for the works included in this, his first solo exhibition. The most recent paintings are expressed through thickly rendered surfaces; their pallid impasto seemingly wrought from the stains and the dirt of Goss's east London studio. To precisely name the subjects depicted in these paintings is to ultimately rob them of their elusive presence - yet this body of new work clearly navigates the faded fairgrounds of California, the thrift-stores and the junkyards, filled with second-hand bricolage and lost histories. The brittle, almost skeletal brushwork employed to describe these subjects, hovers between focus and fadeout, as if the imagery would collapse under its' own weight should another mark be added to the surface.
Perhaps most explicitly, the title of the exhibition, Veverka, gives insight into Goss's approach to his painting. Taken from the German author W.G Sebald's novel, Austerlitz, a moth-eaten, stuffed squirrel (or ‘veverka' in Czech) found in the window of a junk shop, preoccupies the central character, seeking meaning in the frozen pose of this decrepit taxidermy, a physical manifestation of a life now passed. It is a similar sense of haunted melancholy that permeates these imposing paintings.
Nick Goss - born 1981 in Bristol, UK, lives and works in London. Goss studied at the Slade, University College, London (2002-06) and the Royal Academy Schools, London (2006-09). He previously exhibited at Josh Lilley Gallery in the group show, Daily Miracles, in 2009. Other recent presentations include The Armory Show New York, in March 2010, and Saatchi New Sensations in October 2009. Later this year he will participate in NEWSPEAK: British Art Now, at the Saatchi Gallery.