Michael Fullerton, Installation view, Get Over Yourself, Greene Naftali, New York, 2006
Greene Naftali is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Scottish artist Michael Fullerton. This will be the artist’s first solo show in New York and first outside of Great Britain. He has exhibited at the Transmission Gallery in Glasgow, Counter Gallery, London, and the Tate Britain in both a solo show and in the Tate Triennial curated by Beatrix Ruf.
Fullerton’s artistic practice is a multifaceted exploration of the ways that meaning can be transmitted and ascribed to surfaces. This surface often takes the form of paintings—hauntingly intense oil portraits in deep greens, browns, and blues, which consider notions of social penetration and how a person’s identity finds its way into the popular culture. The paintings in the exhibition reference British and Spanish portraiture and have an air of obsolescence but with emotional tenacity. His subjects reflect the genre’s specific investment in social archetypes, and include former MI5 agent David Shayler, who defected and later served prison time for violating the Official Secrets Act. Fourth Stage of Cruelty (Beatrice Lyall) depicts a victim of domestic violence, while Catholic Protestant Progeny portrays the offspring of Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams’ clan, ironically adopted by a prominent British family. Prostitute (Paramount Pictures Version) is painted from an actress’ casting photo.
Other mediums of communication, such as printing, or even the contemporary materials of analogue and digital data recording, are treated as sites for similar investigations, though their forms appear radically different. The title of the exhibition, “Get Over Yourself,” is enigmatic of Fullerton’s approach and interest in psychological and social penetration. A wall text tells the short story of the seduction of a woman from a man’s point of view. Giant newsprints depict a woman before and after birth (after Hogarth), and members of an anarchist community. The show is further complicated by architectural and sculptural elements that are more abstract but attempt to equally engage the viewer’s subjectivity. A large beam serves as either a barrier or an obstacle in the back gallery, a wall size mirror reflects the room and the viewer—and both of these elements are splashed with ferrous oxide, a material of particular consequence for Fullerton due to its ability to store information and as an industrial product developed in the first part of the century for analogue recording. The sculpture, Hard Drive Under Erasure, is actually “live” with a current of electricity running through the hard drives, intertwined with the hair of a lover, causing a continual self-erasure.
In Fullerton’s work, high-technology and painting are on equal footing as mediating devices of memory, erasure, identity, and transmission.