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In Guy Allott’s landscape paintings, the very distant past and the far-flung future merge. His scenes are replete with improbabilities and anachronisms: fiery mackerel skies, techno-dystopic animal carcasses erupting from the earth, jolly-but-sad spacecrafts (evocative of 1960s toys rather than actual rockets), and discontinuous natural panoramas that clash with one another. For all their otherworldliness, however, the places Allott paints are to some extent real. He manages to plumb the depths of the history of landscape painting, both real and surreal, and emerge onto the other side.

In order to create these works, Allott must contend with a cultural mother-lode of warped landscapes: the pastoral tradition of Antoine Watteau and Claude Lorrain, the spooky wraiths of English Romantic painters (Samuel Palmer et al), CS Lewis’ Narnia, HG Wells’ end-of-empire fantasies, the surrealist 20th-century works of René Magritte, as well as Paul Nash and his followers, mid-century pulp science fiction book covers and Hollywood’s vast painted (and now CGI) backdrops. Allott succeeds by carefully gesturing towards these, before returning the viewer to his own personal vision – an expanded exploration of the surrealist English landscape tradition, haunting in its relevance.

The wrecks of an imagined future are rendered as monumentally present as the megalithic scatterings of Britain’s hilltops. These visual tactics suggest that our culture cannot regard nature as entirely natural, nor can accept it as entirely circumscribed by culture; instead, nature for Allott is an unruly and strange presence, always cultured but always beyond it. Allott’s images describe the landscape as a meeting place between real and non-real that are neither nostalgic nor dreamily escapist. Instead they draw us back, insistently to the idea of the landscape – this most fundamental of encounters.

taken from Artlyst (writer unknown) 2013.

 

 

Fretville Oak, 135 x 173 cm, oil on linen, 2008

Fretville Oak, 135 x 173 cm, oil on linen, 2008

 

Old Border, 30x40cm, oil on linen, 2011

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Science Fiction

Where we are now, relies on where we have been and where we are going. The past and the future inform us of the present; distant pasts and far off futures, dystopia and utopia intermingle.

An early example of Science Fiction, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is a love story full of moral warnings, which are as relevant now as ever they were.

Fairy Tales

The Grimm Brothers give us children’s tales from the ancient forests of Europe, warning us not to stray from the path and to beware of those that lurk alone in the shadows.


Frankenstein II  Oil on linen  90 x 110 cm 2019


“…and I withdrew from the window, unable to bear these
emotions.” It is not sre if Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wants the
DeLacy family to be seen as an ideal or already as the failure of
the family concept, but in using the first person narrator she gives
voice to the creature, who is speaking the above words. Stepping
deep in Shelley’s Gothic novel of 1818, Guy Allott is using the hole
in the wall, the cottage window, the lovely chalet façade, as a
screen for lifting off his own narrative of the Frankenstein story. In
an act of bad painting, the creature is identified as a creator and in
doing so, the artist fuses the different levels and perspectives of
narrator, figure, artisit, phantasy (sic) and desire, into one big game.

© Markus Summerer

About Lies, Gussglashalle, Berlin. May 2019.


Frankenstein I  oil on linen  20 x 35 cm 2018

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