Barry Schawbsky, ‘Post Flat: New Art from London’, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, USA, exhibition catalogue, 2003

(Philip Allen, Kate Bright, Simon Periton, Michael Stubbs)

Michael Stubbs was born in West Sussex in 1961 and educated at the Bath Academy of Art and Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has most recently exhibited with Entwistle Gallery, London. His paintings use the by-now venerable abstract painting technique of pouring to risk a certain loss of control, and yet by using blown-up stencils to interrupt these random flows with fragments of words, images, or hand-me-down decorative motifs, he constantly keeps a discursive, referential function in play. Or maybe it should be put the other way round: Stubbs’s imagery seems constantly on the verge of converging into some form of cultural commentary, but the fundamental abstractness and even irrationality of his overlapping poured shapes seems calculated to prevent that – to insist on the painting as an agreement to disagree between wayward materials and stubborn intentionality. As Paul Morrison wrote (in Contemporary Visual Arts) of an earlier phase of Stubbs’s work, ”the paintings operate as perceptual palimpsests in which the artist overwrites modernist tropes with playful irreverence”.