Francesca Dolor and David Flaugher's Hello dust! at Ginny on Frederick
- Friday dispatch
- Read Time: 4 minutes
Ginny on Frederick, 99 Charterhouse St, Barbican, London EC1M 6HR
20 January – 17 February 2024
Ginny on Frederick has been located on Charterhouse Street, next to Smithfield Market in Clerkenwell, for only a few short months. Named for its original home, on Frederick Terrace in Hackney, the gallery has had a nomadic existence, inhabiting a sandwich shop that had closed during the pandemic before landing in the current space. The constants in this story have been the small scale of the gallery’s spaces, and the tenacity of Freddie Powell, the founder, in navigating the grinding realities of the London property scene.
The gallery has made a name for itself offering a platform for early career artists, and while the current show is of paintings, the programme has in the past featured ambitious installations and sculpture. Inclusion in the CONDO programme this January is a mark of the respect Ginny on Frederick has rapidly gained within the wider London scene.
nobody knows shit nobody lives anywhere hello dust!
(The Crow with no Mouth, Ikkyu, translated by Stephen Berg)
The title of this current exhibition is taken from a poem by the 15th century Zen Buddhist monk Ikkyu. Renowned for his rejection of traditional Buddhist pieties and his embrace of drinking and sex as central to spiritual life, Ikkyu is beloved as a folk hero in Japan, where his life story was the subject of an animated series in the mid 1970s. Hello dust! Brings together London-based Francesca Dolor and New York artist David Flaugher – united by the cheerful nihilism of Ikkyu’s phrase. Acknowledging the fleeting nature of life on earth, all of which will come to dust, the paintings here share a dreamlike consciousness.
Francesca Dolor’s three paintings use a deliberately claustrophobic, frieze-like format: long and narrow they compress their subject matter to emphasise psychological effect. Geometric patterns - drawn perhaps from Islamic tiles or textiles - provide the unifying device and framework within which narrative scenes play out. Dolor uses the unusual medium of oil with marble dust. It produces vibrant and translucent colour which she applies in short, dabbing strokes that have a curiously restless quality.
Girl waiting at a Table Considers Class Determining Fate, 2023, makes clear that certain autobiographical factors are in play within the artist’s work. To the left of the canvas, a female figure is hunched over a table, to the right another lies prone on the floor, as if felled by some unseen force. In her other two canvasses, Friends and Warriors, both 2023, groups of figures appear as if drawn from a personal photo album: someone sits on a bed, a family outing in a red saloon car, a girl being pushed in a wheelchair. Ambiguous and fragmentary, together these vignettes are like sequences from a dream.
David Flaugher’s four canvasses provide a dramatic shift in scale yet deal in a similarly oblique way with the artist’s biography. Flaugher is open about his working-class roots and the struggles his family has been through that render their material possessions especially freighted with meaning. He also references one of the jobs he had before being able to make a living as an artist – working for a company that cleared out foreclosed homes. This melancholic activity lead Flaugher to an intense consideration of the values and memories embodied by the objects we surround ourselves with, no matter how mundane. Three of his paintings in Hello Dust! are of non-descript tables and chairs in interiors. Executed in a muted pallet of greys and browns, they are rendered uncanny by the encroachment of swirling vortices that float in the spaces. Whether these are atmospheric effects, psychic or paranormal phenomena, or portals in the space-time continuum is left entirely unexplained. But the tension between the Morandi-like stillness of the interior scenes and the utter strangeness of the floating vortices carries some kind of psychological truth that one instantly recognises. Perhaps an expression of a state of intense introspection.
This concise and highly considered show demonstrates how it is possible to make a substantial introduction to an artists’ work in the most modest of spaces. Ginny on Frederick is now firmly on my personal London art map.
Ginny on Frederick
99 Charterhouse St, Barbican, London EC1M 6HR
Opening Times: 12 - 6pm Wednesday to Saturday
Exhibition open until 17 February 2024