Martin Kerrison exhibits a selection of narrative drawings, paintings, and prints. His work combines magical realism with social satire and commentary. Set by the coast, fun fairs, lighthouses, beached icons of consumerism, armies of men in suits; serve as characters and backdrops for a very contemporary farce. There is a sense of a garden of earthly delights gone wrong, a bonfire of the vanities; as lost, often surreal figures, grotesques, at once trapped in their own conceit and social manner strut across apocalyptic amusement parks. With titles like Crunch Time an attempt at some critique of the current economic situation is clear. Stylistic allusions are aplenty. The tension between stasis and motion is reminiscent of Bacon whilst the everyday is eulogised more in the manner of Stanley Spencer. In its elements of caricature and farce Peter Howson, Giles, or Hogarth and the quaint English charms of Paul Slater all come to mind. Within this ambivalent critique of capital, the ghosts of memory resonate through Kafkaesque landscapes of 20th century nightmares and male angst, refracted through a comic-book eye.
Helter-Skelter charcoal on paper 2007 103x144cms
Kerrison's studio practice is akin to writing a book, in the form of various designs for stage sets that happen to be paintings, drawings or prints. There are elements of automatic writing in pictures that are interrogated and moulded to create narrative. This allows possibilities for drama, psychological tension, humour and satire to develop, operating at the point of intersection between the personal and the social. Often these allude to aspects of a tradition of north European realism and in their probing satire can be compared to the Neue Sachlichkeit painters or the more contemporary artist Neo Rauch.
Ship of Fools oil on canvas 90x90cms 2010/11 (Private Collection)