Intimating endlessness is easy – giving it bite is difficult. Dominic Beattie’s large new paintings succeed. Constantly shifting pattern and fluctuating scale are contained and directed to form limited, effective physical presences. His decisions are not to do with composition, with locking his pictures down, but with rhythm and opening them up. How they look is all important, but they are not concerned with aesthetic niceties – similarly they are very much built things, but do not have much truck with craft for its own sake or make a song and dance about their sometimes laborious construction. Op effects are used without Op’s elegantly impenetrable virtuoso illusions. Their scale and expansiveness is remote from the small-sized image-objects Beattie has made for the last few years. Yet in amongst the new works’ dispersed, decentered patterns there remains a sense of facing forward, a feeling that the paintings have in some way risen to meet their viewers.
In the gallery there will also be a group of chairs designed by Beattie for the exhibition. Their purpose is simple. They are for sitting on, to encourage people to look longer at the paintings; perhaps to allow the paintings’ gaze to be properly returned.
– Sam Cornish
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