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Indepth Arts News:

"Peter Lamb and The Art of Dickies and Pollocks"
2006-10-28 until 2006-11-25
Kontainer Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

Peter Lamb transcribes an immediate raw state to paper or canvas and then edits by subtraction and addition, moving collage pieces around, over-painting and drawing, translating work from one medium to another. It‚s a very physical process. What he ends up with is a junk pile of marks, motifs and images, the tangled bundle of an emotional state spread across a variety of surfaces - paper, canvas, di-bond and sculptures.

Lamb talks about his method as a trawl through personal history and memory, seeing what the day's catch might yield. It also throws up bits of art history. You couldn't call these quotations, more found‚ images: the odds and ends, the broken bits, art‚s refuse; artist as rag and bone man, art as eschatology. It's a form of pastiche in which Lamb cobbles together borrowed finery, which every so often resolves into something. A Tal R hotchpotch of imagery there, an ugly Albert Oehlen smear here, Rene Daniels bow tie, a Rauschenberg wash, Kippenberger, the Ab-Ex's. Besides his hommages to the late-, and not so late-greats, Lamb's work also dresses up in second-hand rags from his peer-group in London‚s East End: Phillip Allen, Danny Rolph, a bit of Boo.

Yet, despite its physicality and abundant art allusions, its barrow-boy aesthetic, Lamb‚s work is also about language: language as preverbal and chaotic which reflects the fragmented and dismembered state of being, the broken sense of identity and authority that his work explores; language that is not wholly differentiated from the body, but exists in a realm where identity, language, authority and sexual potency are interlinked. Verbal language is attacked: words as naming devices are struck through. In their place, mouths, eyes, ears and nostrils spit and spout seemingly caustic sprays of marks and pours of colour which pool and pattern in deceptive charm. Heads, a common signifier for speech are consistently de-faced by shrouding, erasure and deforming, further obstructing identity. Given that the head is the location of four of our senses, it makes sense that the experience of articulation that Lamb offers us is disabled, leaving us groping towards meaning. Whilst Lamb creates works as individual pieces, they too, exist as fragments of a dismembered totality. His acts of translation from one medium to another requires understanding to be chased across a multiplicity of objects and surfaces, retrieved from the flotsam and jetsam that his memory and experience cast across them, to engage us in a dialogue about art and aspiration and a bitter romance of ruination.

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