26.04.13 — 08.06.13 ‘Alex Virji, 'Entropical Paradise'’

Private View 25th April 6 – 8pm

Man&Eve is pleased to present ‘Entropical Paradise’, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Alex Virji.

The works in ‘Entropical Paradise’ describe a pictorial perestroika, a state where a utopian image plane has become unstable or out of reach, and is in the process of restructuring with unforeseeable results. Expansive landscapes rendered faintly over raw linen are analysed and contemplated by a language of geometric forms, markers and demarcations that cast a recticle over the painted space, optimistically charting its return to a paradise lost.

The teleological context of this process is initially unclear, although the range-finding nature of the abstracted linear marks demonstrates the presence of a distinct agency of view, and separateness between what is being seen and the presence of the viewer seeing it. As a viewer of the painting we are situated helplessly inside the head of the imagined scanner of the horizon; previously a position of neurosis until the camera’s machine-eye acclimatised us to seeing through the eyes of another.

What is called into question is the nature of the viewer and their intentions upon the landscape, as the lines transecting the picture plane measure and attempt to quantify it. It may be that this tense but active relationship, between found structure and imposed form, is simply a reflection of the retinal battle between an individual observer and the world they try to navigate and locate themselves within.

This collapsed, existential reading stands as an elision of the narrative notions, demonstrating a common theme of the mind’s instinctive resistance to push against the entropic pressure of the dynamic world outside it. On an essential level the paintings are reflections on the process of trying to find a perceptual foothold in a chaotic but compelling world, the search for a stable point to locate a theodolite with which to gauge the lie of the land.

The romantic nature of the metaphorical language employed here reflects the core irony of this process: that the painted surface, like the retina, is just a surface. Even if there is an external “real” world, a mind could never perceive it, all it can observe is the retinal plane. To have a view of your own internal surface, that would be one thing; or to see the outside world, that would be another. It’s the clash of those two things that provides a site for the Entropical Paradise. Trying to fight the decline of thought over time, by consolidating memory onto canvas, is a core desire here. The event from which the painted spaces try to recover is simply the passage of time and the accompanying entropic degradation of single thoughts, brought by the mind’s eye constantly roving across the retinal surface.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extended essay by Fin Cullum.