Simon Job: Painting, Photography and Collage showcases local Liverpool artist Simon Job at Domino Gallery. Like the title suggests the exhibition is varied in media, exploring different contexts, with media selected on the basis of what Simon is trying to communicate within a particular piece. Importantly it is the physicality of the media and its construction that interests him most, with the act of making taking precedent over a set theme. For this reason the pieces within the exhibition differ enormously in style, hung within grouping of series rather than communicating a narrative.
The exhibition begins with Simon’s photography work. The photographs have been slotted between two panes of glass with paint added to distress the piece, creating a worn effect indicative of time. These pieces are interesting in approach, with the soft hazy focus of the photographs working well with the muted hints of colour of the paint. The paint has been buffed away to gently tinge the glass, thus softening its harshness in keeping with the subtleness of the photographs. This evokes a sense of memory, with the photographs being reminiscent of an old family album in their faded quality, giving an aspect of the passing of time. Alongside the photographs a series of landscape paintings are displayed that are suggestive of the 20th century landscape painters, their distinctive skies and obsession with weather systems. Simon’s series of six landscapes dedicate 3/4 of the canvas to the sky, with paint applied in washes allowing it to merge and run, creating moody clouds. Both photographs and paintings create a sense of atmosphere within the work, and capture both a stillness and sense of time passing within the pieces.
The reference to art history and its influence on contemporary art continues in Simon’s collaged pieces which sit directly opposite the landscape series. His Disorder (1-4) series uses familiar portraits by the great masters to explore the issues of authorship and originality and the value of art history. He dissects a print of the selected image then reconfigures it slightly, aligning it off centre so the image doesn’t match up. It therefore exists as the original image, yet is altered subtly to create a ‘new’ piece of art. This creates interesting debates on the originality of the image; is it an original piece of wok if the image is in fact a copy of an existing art work?
Whilst Simon’s work creates interesting reference to the canon of art history and the act of making, the overall curation and selection presents a problem in such a small gallery space like Domino. As the work hangs in an open one room space, the grouping of works based on style creates a lack of cohesion as the pieces are viewed as one whole body of work. Thus a set narrative or selected media may have worked better as the confined space in the gallery doesn’t allow the work to breathe.
Claire Walker is a writer based in Wigan
Simon Job: Painting, Photography and Collage, Domino Gallery, Liverpool