Pete Wheeler: Avant-Garde Fatigue
I love painting. Even after multiple millennia it isn’t a medium that grows stale for anyone bar the exceptionally jaded. I am also a fan of Pete Wheeler’s work, his exploration of oil paint, oil stick and spray paint, so it’s always a pleasure to see one of his shows. He has a particularly interesting feeling for colour, form and the relationship between the figurative and gestural abstraction. In his new show Avant-Garde Fatigue the imagery seems to have ceased to be an arbitrary excuse to arrange paint and now takes on a greater narrative significance.
Marcel Duchamp is a kind of stalking horse for the show. A reoccurring motif is the bicycle wheel from Duchamp’s 1913’s readymade sculpture of the same name (where said wheel is mounted on a stool) which fulfils three functions – as compositional device, as weighty art-historical artefact, and presumably as a pun on the artist’s name. In another painting a Matisse-esque spray of cyan leaves intervenes between the viewer and a spray-painted copy in fluorescent pink of what looks like John D. Schiff’s iconic c.1957 photographic portrait of Duchamp.