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Blasted: Charlie Dutton Gallery opens exhibition by Michael Peel
Installation view of the exhibition at Charlie Dutton Gallery.

LONDON.- Michael Peel’s work, while always graphic, political and boldly confrontational, has never promoted specific issues or campaigns. But for the past thirty years or more, he has been holding up a mirror to society through large-scale poster-works and prints whose subjects are power and control, revolt and war, culture and economics. The series of images that he made between 1985 and 1995 under the rubric `Modern World’ stand as a radical critique of an era that began with the Falklands War in 1982 and has continued under different political regimes into the present century. Looking back at his work from that period is like leafing through a picture history book as the voice of Cassandra whispers from the pages.

Bosnia, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more recent civic disturbances, have all featured strongly in Michael’s work, but there is something different in his approach which I think is a consciousness of the frailty and mortality of the human body. This comes through all the way from an early work like Rejoice, Rejoice (1982, Imperial War Museum) to a new work like Riot, which combines images of riot police during the events of 2011 with swirling red and yellow lines on a black ground. These photograms of electrical cable are a formal device which indicates variously telecommunications, cardiovascular systems or automatic writing, as well as making a distant nod to the gestural abstraction of Jackson Pollock.

Coming from a strong Fine Art printmaking tradition, Michael’s work has always retained a classical format and medium: excerpts from newsprint and television or illustrations from medical textbooks were screen-printed onto rectangular sheets of paper. His new digital prints are stacked in blocks: apocalyptic dust clouds from exploding bombs, forbidding metal grilles, close-ups of Sterling board with the texture of abstract brush-strokes, and the looming underbellies of civilian aircraft that criss-cross the London sky every two minutes. For good or ill, these are aspects of the modern world.

© Angela Weight 2013

Today's News

March 21, 2013

Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris opens exhibition devoted to the painter Eugène Boudin

Amazon's Jeff Bezos recovers Apollo 11 engines; serial numbers from the engines have been eroded

Exhibition of the paintings of Jan Brueghel the Elder opens at Alte Pinakothek in Munich

J M W Turner painting "Lowther Castle - Evening" added to the Bowes Museum's permanent collection

'Chinese Girl' makes £1m world record and heads home to South Africa's Delaire Graff Estate

Meiji treasures defy estimates at Bonhams' Fine Japanese Works of Art auction in New York

Princess Diana dresses raise over £850,000 at Kerry Taylor Auction house in London

The Amaya Collection of Modern & Contemporary Indian Art totals $6.7 million at Sotheby's

Solo exhibition of works by Dutch artist Jan Dibbets opens at Alan Cristea Gallery

Victoria and Albert Museum cancels Napalm Death gig over fears it will bring house down

Louis Vuitton presents Mutation: Stéphane Couturier's first solo exhibition in Hong Kong

Exhibition of recent works by Alika Cooper opens at Tracy Williams, Ltd in New York

Exhibition at Gagosian juxtaposes key works by American artist Steven Parrino with European counterparts

Exhibition and ongoing performance by London based artist Eddie Peake at White Cube

Blasted: Charlie Dutton Gallery opens exhibition by Michael Peel

Bonhams to offer Maserati at Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction

Museum Brandhorst opens first major retrospective of Gillian Wearing's work in Germany

Ahead of the galleries: ART+ curators connect you to the most promising artists now

The inaugural Hong Kong Affordable Art Fair: Most successful launch of fair in history of brand

Landmarks adds Sol LeWitt works to public art collection of the University of Texas at Austin

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