Dan Coombs: Heaven and Earth

25 May - 23 June 2011

You would have been forgiven for thinking you had stumbled on an early Modernist primitive exhibition in this body of work from Dan Coombs. But with the awkward nude figures and bold and psychedelic palette, this is utopia with a dark edge.

Coombs work encompasses the relationships between figures, both formally on the surface of the canvas and between the depicted individuals. Initially cut-outs from a plethora of sources (life drawing manuals, magazines and catalogues), the figures first meet on the surface of a study for the painting to come. Some seem content to be there, others positively enthusiastic, bowed in introduction while others still are ambivalent, disinterested, turning away (The Searchers). Unlike the early Modern dream, these figures abjectly refuse to sit harmoniously on the canvas, a reflection off real (as opposed to ideal) human relationships and their complexities, be they isolated (Coathangers), an Edenesque couple (Echo) or a community (Village).