Luke Gottelier was born in London, in 1968.
He lives and works in London.
He lives and works in London.
Luke Gottelier is showing seven new paintings, all oil on canvas, two of which are hung over a painted mural which covers the entire end wall of the gallery space. Using a two-colour palette, a contoured upright pattern has been added to with apparently 'misspent' gestures, that at once affirms the idle, leisurely spirit of the paintings, and forces a seriousness about the painting’s significance outside of themselves. On another wall, the largest of the paintings sits propped on two boxes of pork scratchings, in a theatrical disregard for itself. Luke was a director of The Bart Wells Institute 2001 -2002, a curator of Deutsch Britische Freundschaft 1998-1999, and is currently represented by Kate MacGarry, London.
A discussion between Kaavous Clayton and Luke Gottelier.
Kaavous Clayton: What are the animals and leisure that your paintings are of?
Luke Gottelier: I thought of the title about a year ago. I decided that that is what my next show would be called. At the time it was appropriate, but now it's not really correct. But I decided to stick with the title anyway.
KC: So what are your paintings of now?
LG: Usually I make lots of drawings, then photocopy the ones I like best and amalgamate them into paintings. I try not to think about what they're of.
KC: It sounds like there's quite a random element to the production process. Do you try to disassociate yourself from decision-making?
LG: I always try to include random elements. They always help. Collaborating with randomness. Decisions always happen, this colour or that, this shape or that. But I try to work when I'm not thinking too much. Doing, not thinking.
KC: I presume that by asking people to help produce the mural on the end wall this extends the collaboration with randomness by taking the control of production out of your hands. By using others are you turning them into your tools and increasing your possible outcomes?
LG: Yes it does introduce another random element. At college I used to be a perfectionist and now I'm quite anti that. It's a false god and a distraction from what I think making art is all about. Sometimes all the action is in the mistakes. That's when the best things can creep in unannounced. Imperfection is slowly being eradicated and art is one of the few areas where it still exists, although I fear it is gradually being hoovered away. Apart from the physical labour of painting a large mural, having others paint the mural increases the counterpoint between it and the paintings that are going on top of it.
KC: So placing your painting in front of the mural is a bit like moving into a house and inheriting somebody else's wallpaper or decoration, you have to fit in with other choices and decisions that are beyond your control, possibly a bit like having to fit into a society that is already established according to other peoples beliefs and ideals?
LG: I was thinking that I needed to toughen my paintings up. So the mural is boot camp for paintings.
KC: Why did you prop the large painting rather than hanging it and what is the significance of the pork scratchings it's propped on? Are these devices also part of the toughening process?
LG: The reason I decided to prop the painting was seeing the internal architecture of the gallery. The I-beams that split the room from the ceiling made me think of propping it. Something to do with making you aware of the floor. Although it makes the painting more sculptural it also refers to how I make the large paintings as I always prop them on things. Once I decided to prop it I wasn't sure on what and then it came to me in a flash that what I was impelled to do was prop it on boxes of pork scratchings.
KC: Yes, pork scratchings certainly can get under your skin.