Stuart Morgan, ‘Mandy Loves Declan 100%’, Mark Boote Gallery, New York, USA, exhibition catalogue, 1993

(Glenn Brown, Adam Chodzko, Keith Coventry, Anya Gallaccio, Stephen Glynn, Siobhan Hapaska, Stephen Hughes, Alex Landrum, Michael Stubbs, Mark Wallinger, Gillian Wearing)

Michael Stubbs makes comic play with that perception of tactility that inheres in formalist approaches to painting. Clement Greenberg’s metaphors as evoked cuisine. The equation of paint and food is satirized in Stubbs’ costive canvases, like wedding cakes, with one canvas supported by the rosettes of the one below. The effect is costive, to say the least. But if Stubbs’s work involves a critique of decoration, it also involves an examination of what “decoration” might mean. Recent experiments have involved piping paint from a mastic gun; with all the inevitable associations. In Stubbs’s version of tartan, verticals and horizontals that would normally be woven are expelled painfully onto the canvas and when the pressure drops off the gun is empty, the fact is dutifully recorded. One recent Pollock biography recounts a primal scene in which the infant Jackson watches his father standing on the rock above him, urinate spectacularly, an experience which informed hia mature painting style. Stubbs’s practice hints at a childhood memory of a more Rabelasian variety.

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