Omar Ba, Sebastiaan Bremer, Hew Locke, Trenton Doyle Hancock
12 April - 1 June 2013

Vitalic. Installation view, Hales Gallery 2013 (detail)

Hales Gallery is pleased to announce VITALIC, a show of four artists who explore the relationship between a personal fictional narrative and the artist's own (very different) backgrounds and realities. What draws these artists together is the imagery present in much of the work on show, which suggests a fantastical private world occupied only by the artist and a complex thought process. These fantasies are, however, all grounded in a tangible, physical experience of the world.  


Operating in a similar way to the 1980s literary genre of 'Magical Realism', this exhibition aims to present works' where plot lines and imagery characteristically display multiple levels of reality. The often dreamlike and luscious environments allow glimpses of familiar details; whether they are recognizable figures, environments, modes of thought or cultural references that in turn both explain and navigate the contemporary world.


Omar Ba makes paintings directly onto corrugated cardboard sheets, the artists preferred surface. His relocation from Dakar to Geneva has had a major effect on his work bringing together African and Western influences often centred around single figures, isolated on blackened surfaces. The highly patterned and elaborate personages draw together imagery associated with famine, tribal decoration, factional warfare and despotic self-styled leaders along with advances in new technology and popular culture.


Sebastiaan Bremer dapples tiny freckles of paint over the surface of glossy photographs. The resulting works attempt to subvert, or at least redefine the photograph as a historical document in time. Bremer's fascination with the expression of the 'Romantic' in art has lead him to explore both images of himself, his father and his children as well as isolated eyes taken from the photographs of Bill Brandt. More recently images of the musician Harry Nilsson have become the focus in his attempt to discover the man behind the image. The dream-like atmosphere that Bremer has created by re-touching, allows the viewers to enter them and establish an intimate connection with the works.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      &