November 21, 2003
Iain Faulkner

There is to be an exhibition/sale of paintings by Iain Faulkner at the Albemarle Gallery, 49 Albemarle Street, London W1 (nearest tube station Green Park), 26th November - 23rd December 2003. (I found out about this because my friend Chris called round and a book had been delivered here for him of Iain Faulkner pictures.)

Says the Albemarle website:

Iain Faulkner was born in Glasgow in 1973 where he was raised and educated. He graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1996 with a BA (Honours) Degree in Fine Art.

From the onset of his professional career, the fashionable and trendy routes of contemporary and conceptual art, adopted by many of his peers, was not an option. He chose instead to follow the more difficult and demanding path of figurative painting wherein clear, concise yardsticks of competence, draughtsmanship and painterly skills can be measured and judged, warts and all.

At the age of twenty-nine, the result of his endeavours during his relatively short career has brought a considerable measure of success with his last four shows in London and New York selling out which is clearly indicative of the public's appreciation and interest in his work.

Here's a Faulkner picture that I found at the Albemarle website.

faulk1.jpg

I realise, looking at some of the other pictures at this site, that I am a total prude when it comes to paintings. One of the things I most like about Faulkner's paintings is that nobody is dressed in a way which, if they were dressed that way for real, they'd be embarrassed to show to strangers or I'd be embarrassed to see. See especially the paintings by Stuart Luke Gatherer for the kind of thing I have in mind. (Follow the link from the home page to "gallery artists" and then pick him.) When I encounter a scene where my reaction if I came across this for real would be to say "Oops sorry I'm obviously interrupting" and then to back out, I find myself feeling similarly uncomfortable, although far less intensely, when looking at the painting.

As for the endlessly repeated claim that art is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable, I don't buy that. And I don't believe the people who say that they do buy it are being honest. I think that a picture which they have no problem with, but which they believe makes other people whom they disapprove of uncomfortable, makes them very comfortable indeed, and that that is the kind of discomfort (i.e. not discomfort at all, for them) which they like, and are referring to with all this discomfort propaganda. They no more like being genuinely discomforted by art than I do.

Or then again, maybe I am just not interested enough in paintings, and, painting-wise, am comfortable with what I'm comfortable with, and am not seeking fresh fields to explore. One way to find new stuff to get comfortable with is to find stuff which at first makes you uncomfortable. No, that's not it. The previous paragraph is what I think.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:54 PM
Category: Painting