Darren Coffield, Ebb and Flow, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 44.5 x 43.5 cm © Darren Coffield. Courtesy of Dellasposa Gallery
“I hope this exhibition evokes a sense of dislocation, spurring the viewer to question the moral and political crossroads our civilisation has now reached.”
Dellasposa Gallery presents a new solo exhibition by Darren Coffield. In this new series of work inspired by the Old Master paintings in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, Coffield fuses classical inspirations with digital distortions.
“I became interested in how these images of this humanitarian crisis are represented in the media. My works take classical images and combine them with the digital glitches you get from a bad signal, breaking up the composition with coloured stripes that evoke the banality of the British seaside: bright stripy deck chairs and sticks of rock.”
With these colourful stripes, Coffield creates an eerie juxtaposition, using the beach as a cultural reference to explore its uses as a place of leisure as well as death.
The people depicted become anonymous with these digital glitches, resembling the barcodes associated with relentless mass production, vast consumerism and scale, reinforcing the sheer quantity of people directly affected by mass migration. Coffield’s paintings evoke the duality of anonymity and individualism of migration and travel: bringing this wave of humanity to the forefront of the viewer’s mind and exposing its unrelenting reality. Desperate, overfilling ships and boats ebb and wane in the beating sun, while the bodies of Coffield’s figurative works are left hopelessly beached. The detail in the paintings forces the viewer to confront that this is not happening in some faraway land to beings unlike ourselves. Visible to all and ignored by many, this is an ongoing, urgent and often fatal situation.
Darren Coffield Against The Tide 26th September – 8th November www.dellasposa.com
Darren Coffield, Drift, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 25.8 x 30.5 cm © Darren Coffield. Courtesy of Dellasposa Gallery
About The Artist
Darren Coffield was born in London in 1969. He studied at Goldsmiths College, Camberwell School of Art and the Slade School of Art in London where he received his Bachelor of Fine Art in 1993.
Coffield has exhibited widely in the company of many leading artists including Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Caulfield and Gilbert and George at venues ranging from the Courtauld Institute, Somerset House to Voloshin Museum, Crimea. His work can be found in collections around the world. In 2003 his controversial portrait of Ivan Massow, former chairman of the ICA in full fox hunting costume was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Portraits of George Galloway and Molly Parkin (NPG, 2010) followed, and most recently a depiction of former Miners Union leader Arthur Scargill made entirely from coal dust. In the early nineties, Coffield worked with Joshua Compston on the formation of Factual Nonsense – the centre of the emerging Young British Artists scene. A new book by Coffield about this period in British Art, Factual Nonsense: The Art and death of Joshua Compston is out now published by Troubador.
Critic David Sylvester, known for his championing of his close friends Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud, described in his Guardian obituary as ‘one of the finest writers on art in the second half of the twentieth century,’ described Darren Coffield as “Another of those magicians who (probably without knowing) know how to imbue pieces of matter with light”.
In 2014, Darren Coffield was specially selected by the jurors of 100 Painters of Tomorrow as an artist who has made a significant contribution to the painting scene today.