Critics’ Picks

Jeremy Glogan, The Bar, 2020, oil on Medite Ecologique MDF, 16 x 22 1/2".

Jeremy Glogan, The Bar, 2020, oil on Medite Ecologique MDF, 16 x 22 1/2".

London

Jeremy Glogan

3236RLS/Le Bourgeois
London London
October 3–November 7, 2021

“The New Distortion,” Jeremy Glogan’s solo exhibition at Le Bourgeois—named for the former French restaurant and low-key sex club that previously occupied the storefront space at Eros House, a 1960s-era Brutalist block designed by Rodney Gordon and Owen Luder—presented eleven oil paintings, all with the same modest dimensions. The earliest work on view, the kaleidoscopic self-portrait Beard, 2019, was made before there was widespread awareness of the Covid-19 virus. The subsequent paintings—executed during the series of stringent lockdowns in the United Kingdom—develop a relevant through line regarding isolation and the new painterly status quo.

Were the tightly composed scenes of artists, friends, and related objects pictured in The Pub, The Glass, Sculpture, The Bar, or Cards (all 2020) at all naturalistic, they could perhaps be considered nostalgic. Yet the persistence of a peer group here additionally references the danger of gathering in times of a pandemic.  

Within the virtual (or at least illusionistic) space of painting, Glogan’s figures serve as ciphers for the distortions of illness, news media, and artistic misrepresentation. They twist and morph uncannily in place, as if seen through murky water. In Awake, 2021, thick daubs of color nestle inside each other to form an optical riddle that, with distance, resolves into the fur coat of the artist’s cat, Charlie, recumbent on a bookshelf.

For the past two decades, Glogan’s work in oil and acrylic has shifted drastically between market-dominant trends in figuration and (postdigital, lazy) abstraction—gaming both surface and position in the post-Kippenberger strain of ebullient cultural and technological irrelevance. Here the two strategies merge in unsettling fashion: “bad painting” finally meets “bad utopia.” The result is tender and astonishing.