‘Painting by Object’, the first in a series of Platform A pairings that connects Platform A artists with works from the mima collection, brings together works from Tony Charles and Edmund de Waal, two seemingly very different artists from very different backgrounds who employ processes alluding to very different industries. However disparate this may seem, it is compelling that the references to Still Life in these works resonate together in three dimensions, to converge upon one investigation into the relationship between sculpture and the two dimensional representation of objects.
The artists’ labour intensive processes deal with repetition: the constant production and reproduction of objects made by hand with all the imperfection that brings. Tony Charles’ steel-related process of grinding is employed to remove the identity of objects, and to provide a painterly patina directly associated with the theme of the investigation. Edmund de Waal’s subtle tonal variations in his objects, and his framing of them, reinforce this. Charles strengthens this connection with a freehand drawing that is intended to express the rhythmic characteristics of his grinding process in the representation of one of his objects, but also seems to pay respect to de Waal’s procedure of ‘throwing’ a pot. Both artists employ an economy of means that unavoidably evokes the paintings of Georgio Morandi in particular, in this homage to one of the most enduring forms of Western painting.
The mundane working process and usage of pottery; and the daily routine of steel industry working, seems to democratically unite these artists further, underpinning the exploration of the object as metaphor for painting and drawing. Meanwhile, the unmistakeable physicality of ceramic and metal occupies a kind of paradoxically sculptural picture plane where notions surrounding object and subject can merge.