Daniel Sturgis, ‘High on Hope’ Exhibition Catalogue, Cross Lane Projects, Kendal, UK, 2022
Michael Stubbs uses a process of visual layering within his paintings by placing fragments of one image on top of another, recognising how painting as a language is an unstable and frequently growing palimpsest of past positions. Stubbs builds his paintings through a dynamic coming together of bold slabs of household paint, and softer stains and pools of tinted floor varnish. He carefully orchestrates this painterly vocabulary to hint at, and interconnect with, both art historical precedents and the ever-present and encroaching digital and photographic vocabularies. Through their use of specific symbols, and in their crispness, Stubbs’s paintings allude, in part, to a flat, mediated world of changing layers and digital surfaces. However, these paintings also celebrate an opposing position, a much more raw and haphazard materiality. Perhaps this is most visible in their seamless incorporation of photographic images, pictures of tubs of household paint and varnish, which show the artist’s own working materials and processes.