red gallery presents two artists who interrogate the past with their subject matter or materials.
Michael Jenkins is both a surfer and a builder. His art distils these two important facts as influences, as he manipulates construction materials with a recognisably coastal aesthetic, in which found objects have weathered, been transformed by the elements and subsequently, by the artist.
He works with bathing box timber, street signs, artillery boxes, building materials. He transforms the offcuts of civilisation, rescues them from abandonment, pillages from the roadside, and finds a compositional beauty in familiar symbols and signs. These repeating graphics of mass-production have their own language: of recollection, symbolic heydays, and potential energy. They are historical, repurposed artefacts of his chosen medium’s past life.
Steve Rosendale flashes his viewer with nostalgic stills from a luminescent past, which is strangely familiar, yet eerily distant. His work pulses with iconography from a golden era of heroic Hollywood, championing vignettes from the urban underside, and romanticised cityscapes in lurid high contrast. His palette is simultaneously compact and dramatically charged. The tonal ranges are strangled, as though half remembered, which gives the trapped action of its motif an elegiac quality, like a brief Kodachrome brush with fame for bygone fanatics.
The visual language here is prosaic late-Modernity, downloaded from our collective visual diet of ‘the American Dream’ and made sordid, dulled in a fading, erotic light.
Steve Rosendale’s art remembers the cinema for us, and documents a past we never lived, but which we can all wistfully recall.