Batesian mimicry of a harmless painting
2006 by Anthony Faroux
43 Inverness Street until 10th December
Camden’s new gallery 43 Inverness Street is a welcome space – embracing the ‘pinch’ on galleries by setting up in a residential house, as well as rekindling the old tradition of viewing art throughout a home. The sanctity of non-descript white walls is often nothing compared to seeing works interspersed and reacting to a living environment, and this effect should never be considered as exclusive to classical art in historical houses. Faroux’s clean modern style is carried by its residential space particularly for its modern contrast. Faroux’s paintings are painted on the back of a sheet of glass, a provoking play on viewing an image ‘behind glass’. Instead of glass providing a viewing barrier, the image clings onto it, throwing out all normal expectations. As pictures have been made to break free onto and out of their frames, Faroux takes the process one step further, allowing the image to bypass framing completely by creating the image on glass. The effect is quite potent; the viewer is immediately confronted by the image on the very material they’re used to ignoring, creating a juxtaposition of expectation and impact. The effect is furthered by Faroux’s use of strong colour; bold and intense, red covers in high contrast to surrounding glassy translucence. The simplicity of the technique is mirrored in the shapes Faroux chooses to use – abstract forms, large and swelling with a slow and subtle movement, upon which float uncomplicated lines and circles. The atmosphere is peaceful, reliant on the basic contrast between nothing and colour, between lines and curves. Batesian mimicry is an apt name; this painting does indeed subtly reflect, cleverly and without malice, telling of harmless and pleasing art.