'Drapes' by Christopher Stead
Alkyd Resin, Fire, Fence, Wood & Shredded Canvas.
180 x 130 cm (2016).
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Christopher’s manipulation of mediums and supports questions painting’s impossible possibility, in its post-digital and post-medium condition. His practice engages with themes of cultural hegemony, gender and the ennobling of materials and aesthetics quarantined as low culture.
Informed by the economic crisis and the dystopic poetics of the city, the Vandal Vernacular series absorbs the guerrilla spirit of Arte Povera, and the improvisational techniques of the Hip Hop culture. The fetishized use of utilitarian materials dissolves the hierarchies of the commodity object.
The Chromophobia paintings are an enquiry into gender and the emasculation of painterly patriarchy. The monochrome used here to censor chromatic saturations, indexes high modernism’s dominant discourse of cultural hegemony, over aesthetics gendered as female and the decorative. The revealing of multiple planes, through material transgression, exposes a brooding tension between the high and the low. This posits painting as a metaphoric vehicle for counter-hegemonic enquiry that challenges the canon of institutional patriarchy.