British, contemporary, Figurative painting

Preview: Mitch Griffiths at Halcyon Gallery

May 26, 2010

Actor Ray Winstone given permanence by the brush of Mitch Griffiths

Exhibition: Mitch Griffiths – The Promised Land, Halcyon Gallery, London, until May 31 2010

It has been said that being unfashionable is a sure way to get in fashion. If that be the case, Mitch Griffiths might soon come into ironic vogue in the same way as socks and sandals are now in some circles acceptable.

Griffiths paints large scale portraits in the style of the old masters but with radically updated themes. In place of religion and royalty, his new show at Halcyon Gallery takes on celebrity, consumerism and British nationalism.

The self-taught artist has gone on record with the following claim: “Once you paint a MacDonald’s burger in oil paint, it becomes important and immortal. It’s a permanent mark of the disposable.”

In the latest shows, two of the immortals who gaze out from the canvas are actors Ray Winston and his daughter Lois. Both are wrapped in Union Jacks and wear the look of battle-weary heroes.

Other paintings feature plastic surgeons, paparazzi and a suicidal Tesco customer. All of the above are high impact, technically skilled works. Only you feel they might be a little short on ambiguity.

The 25 paintings on show have already sold and Griffiths will be looking ahead to the next big exhibition. Iconostasis in 2011 will be a “blockbuster” according to Halcyon Gallery president Paul Green, and it may even be flavour of the month…in theory.

Written for Culture24.

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