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Exhibition of new work by artists Fiona Burke and Marzia Rossi opens at David Dale Gallery & Studios
Marzia Rossi, Untitled (Giotto's explosion), 2011.

GLASGOW.- David Dale Gallery & Studios present an exhibition of new work by artists Fiona Burke and Marzia Rossi.

Although both artists work under the auspices of painting, and the long shadow cast by its history, Burke and Rossi’s practices differ greatly. Diametric in approach, application and scale, their work is separated along clear lines. Explosions of colour are set against muted greys, while pigment thrown to the floor sits uneasily against a line of oil on board. However, this exaggerated contradiction cannot help but lead to a similar outcome of reification. Both artists’, in working through inherited histories of representation and perception arrive at points frozen in time - Burke through her reworking of museological artifacts, and Rossi with gestural eruptions of paint suspended motionless. Navigating through petrified examples of painting’s accumulated history, Burke and Rossi’s heterogeneous practices hint at a commonality of ornamentation as an approach to hermeneutics.

Like Perseus entering Medusa’s lair – ornamented with hundreds of confrontations turned statuesque – he navigates and takes shelter behind all those stoned singulars. Without their knowing, all those who came before become component-like and build up the properties of the subject’s possible (non)perception of the object’s accumulated history (Medusa being the object).

Emerging from the combination of their practices is a composition - an additive process to discern less, ever lesser, from the knowledge we bring to painting. Be it the additive spaces that subtract from the source images of Burke’s paintings, or Rossi’s reduction of painting to powdered pigments that can only act to cosmetically conceal the historical lines of unending elaboration. A conclusion is reached, of Burke and Rossi ornamenting us away from our sometimes-tedious relation to such a ubiquitous medium. So far away that it calls our attention back again in order to re-veil what we have always seen. A subject obscured through continually refreshed participation.

Burke’s practice is concerned with painting’s syntax and its relation to themes of history, memory and representation. In exploring the illusory and limited space of representation, from the portrait or still life to the space of museum display, Burke employs a process of reconfiguring archive images from museum collections. Through editing, erasing and concealing, objects become fragmented, isolated, and incomplete, yet grounded through the painted space.

Rossi has described her practice as “looking for”, a pursuit oscillating between a desire to possess - or to destroy - that which is sought after. Her process concentrates on finding a balance between material presentation and performative suspension. A suspension drawing parallels with the final scene in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, in which the slow-motion explosion is akin to objects starting to blossom, flowerlike, into abstracted forms against a blue sky background. Rossi works thematically with this scenario, inserting a subjective - or intuitive - pause in the action.

The thin gap between an intentional starting point and all possible incidental ending points marks a time lapse. An idea starts to materialise by overlaying, or explodes through the matter and means used. However, her practice should not be interpreted as a performative re-enactment, but, instead, as a continual form of ritual enacted from the contingencies brought out in the exhibition space.

1 Darren Tesar, excerpt of text to accompany exhibition, 2012

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