Adrian Searle, ‘New Voices: Works for a Complex Age’, Kulturhistorisches Museum, Magdeborg, Gemany (and touring), British Council exhibition catalogue, 1995

(David Austen, Keith Coventry, Ian Davenport, Jeffrey Dennis, Peter Doig, Gary Hume, Callum Innes, Elizabeth Magill, Antoni Malinowski, Julian Opie, Fiona Rae, Michael Stubbs, Suzanne Treister, Alison Turnbull)

The end-games of Modernism also provide the subject for Mike Stubbs and Gary Hume. Their works might, like (Keith) Coventry’s, be seen as epitaphs to values we can no longer hold with any certainty. For Gary Hume, painting is a closed door, a world of negated representations, while Mike Stubbs’ paintings are deceptive parodies, relating paintings and the act of painting to other kinds of objects, and other kinds of activities.

Stubbs’ series of paintings based on gateaux and patisserie are a neat play on painting’s qualities as delectable objects. Culinary metaphors are often used to describe art works, and the idea that a painting could look ‘good enough to eat’ surely lies behind these oil-painted confections. Piling-up a number of small canvases, like the layers of a gateau, and applying the creamy paint using a pastry-cook’s icing nozzle and bag, or piping thick, extruded lines of paint onto his canvas (as though to create a tartan pattern, or a childish version of Mondrian), Stubbs is placing his paintings in a kind of limbo, between sincerity and parody, between image and object.

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