Jamie Shovlin, The Evening Redness in the West, Haunch of Venison, London 2009


Jamie Shovlins recent parade of trompe l'oeil, socio-historical mirage's and cultural synecdoche at Haunch of Venison Gallery London has been one of the most impressing and memorable exhibitions of contemporary art that I've experienced this year. Screenprints, photographic works, drawings, silk screens and watercolours operate as mirrored satellites whereby the viewer can catch transient reflections of a real time and place long since gone and distorted by romantic historicizing.


A collection of re-rendered sketches from newspapers, a torn, sun-bleached american flag, an article detailing Don Henley of The Eagles arrest for giving cocaine to a minor, reports of disgraced college fraternities, FBI Intelligence reports and lovingly re-produced newspaper clippings concerning black power, a sketching of a 1950's photograph of Unabomber Theodore Kaczinski at eight years of age, O.J. Simpson, Bruce Springsteen, The Carpenters and a myriad of other glimpses into an americana lost and since romanticized and cherished. A few of the clippings Shovlin depicted maybe obscure, but the majority are already embedded in our historical retrospect. A rose tinted view, saturated with Spielberg, Stone and Pakula... aesthetics of an age remembered and recalled thought the impressions and medium of others imaginings. Its here, within this concoction of cultural and socio-politico semiotics that Shovlins science activates. Suspending the viewer between McCarthian quietude and cultural familiarity, the warmth of cherishing nostalgia opposite the cold, the loss, the death. The Sebaldian conjuring through populist, socio-political and obscure synecdoche leaves a misty sense of what once was whilst perpetually maintaining the powerfully affecting limbo between alien truths and memorized familiarities, between loss and canonized (in)permanence. Its these conflicts, the uncomfortable realization of various juxtapostionings ( of been/being and is/was ) that disturbs. What is lost - is. What has been - has, and subsequently we are left with crude and distorted mementos of the past. Like an Eiffel Tower souvenir the untruthful nature, the sickly romanticism is unbearable within comparison of the event it signifies - but the souvenir lasts - thats all there is, and thats the only thing that will last. The plays between realities and idealisms centering the viewer within the uncertain and painful penumbra of our experiences, recollections, histories and remembrances between ourselves, time, the world and the effects upon ourselves of others skewed re-presentations or experiences, recollections, histories and remembrances.


The fibonacci vortex through which the historical and personal narratives/fictions intwine paves the road for the dominos of cause and effect, histories and memories, influence and oppositions between our world and the world created and remembered by others. One is placed within the realization that neither the subjective past - the memory or the historical narrative cannon are to be associated with the truth or the weight of the event that actually occurred at the time, for that is gone. Only one domino from the event falls on us and only one onto countless others - 1 each, all unique. But through histories and memories substitute mutant dominos are born and released into the world populating histories canon and slowly the genesis submerges and something else is born, something alien to all of us but innately familiar.