INTERVIEW: Gordon Dalton | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Birdhouse Blues, 150 x 120cm, acrylic on canvas, 2020

Technology has been a friend to us recently, with people, especially in the arts, having to find new ways to enable them to operate for the time being. The online art exhibition, however, isn’t such a new concept and has been a welcomed addition for folk seeking a slice of culture. Artist Gordon Dalton is well used to the virtual world, and he told me more about his upcoming show Birdhouse Blues, which will be available to virtually view via Aleph Contemporary.

The Middlesbrough-born painter studied fine art in Wales and then furthered his studies at Northumbria University, gaining an MA. He now resides in the coastal town of Saltburn and is a producer at Middlesbrough-based artist support project Creative Factory. “I’ve only recently moved back to Teesside after 25 years. My practice was always related to the natural and post-industrial landscape here, but now it’s on my front door. The big skies, cliffs, the moors, we are so lucky.” He explains. However, his work has worldwide appeal as he has recently completed a residency in Argentina and has shown work in far-flung places including Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, New York, and Copenhagen.

Working mostly in acrylics, but also with pastels or whatever comes to hand, his work combines memories of places that he has have lived, visited or longingly imagined, as well as references to significant places and art history. Gordon expands: “The paintings are not directly of these paintings or places, but rather an idea of a place and the melancholy of longing and wanting to belong. An unfashionable romanticism grounded in the act of painting.”

My paintings revel in the celebration of painting, asking the viewer to look longer and harder at what painting is, and why it continues to be curious and fascinating

His creations have a real subject (landscape), but they are an invention, full of contrasts and spontaneity: “The seemingly offhand approach denies any superficial finesse to reveal a love of awkward imagery, polluted colours and a stuttering bad grammar. They have an anxious contradiction, with the work being self-conscious of what it is, its possible failings, yet strive for the simple pleasure of looking and a one-to-one relationship with a painting.” Although he is open to suggestions, he does favour a particular colour pallet. “It changes from time to time, but there’s generally a lot of underpainting with a bright pallet before trying to resolve the painting. I’m kind of addicted to Cerulean Blue and Yellow Gamboge.”

Even given the current lockdown circumstances, Gordon is no stranger to working online; his forthcoming show was always intended to be the accessible type. “Aleph Contemporary in London had the viewing platform on their website before all this, but it’s become very useful.” Gordon reveals. “I had a number of shows cancelled including a big solo show in Middlesbrough.” He wants the audience to get a sense of place or belonging, being able to see things from a different perspective. “I hope they feel some kind of joy and enjoyment. My paintings revel in the celebration of painting, asking the viewer to look longer and harder at what painting is, and why it continues to be curious and fascinating.”

View Gordon Dalton’s work on his website and via Aleph Contemporary until Friday 15th May

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