For his debut solo exhibition, British Artist Alistair Canvin presents ‘Do Not Over Inflate’, a playful reflection of memory and perception, through a surreal photo-real series of original paintings.
For artists, nostalgia offers a wealth of emotive material, from Norman Rockwell’s idealisation of a simpler time, to Jeff Koons love of consumer culture and capitalist icons. For Alistair Canvin, this time travelling portal offers a multitude of experiences to subvert. From playful objects, to his precise choice of colour, Canvin disturbs the levity of childhood; with the disclaimers of adulthood.
The series appears joyous, full of colour and reminiscent of summer holidays and breaks away, however a closer look; reveals subtle undercurrents of fear. Inflatable animals and beach balls feature in vivid and florescent colours, but are shown in states of disuse; deflated, burned or compressed. Square blue tiles bend and wave beneath clear water while the surface holds a buoyant rescue vest. Absurd Installations disturb the physical space as a chandelier made with arm bands hangs from the ceiling, while resin puddles pool below the works. Despite our close proximity, nothing appears fit for purpose, and while familiar; neither function of play or safety is being realised.
Beyond subject, colour is an important variable, with primary hues - recalling the memory of playgrounds or toys; set against functional secondary palettes - designed to warn or signal rescue. For a diptych of satirical still life’s, the artist plays with colour and context by shifting the forum of water from pool to ocean. Elevating the artificial colour of Safety Orange beside a contrasting sea of blue, unfolds a parody of attention seeking behaviour. Inflating mundane and plastic details, beside the cautionary text... ‘do not over inflate’. The exhibition explores identity and fragility through a spectrum of colour and memory. From past to present, the artist creates a sensory environment for audiences to explore, with the opportunity for infinite narratives to occur through each personal experience.
Words by Charlotte Pyatt