7 - 30 October 2016
Charlie Duck studied at University of Brighton and the Royal College of Art.
He currently lives and works in London.
A conversation between Mike Goddard and Charlie Duck, Wednesday 5 October 2016.
Mike Goddard: All of the works here have been made since your last show in Nottingham in June of this year. Could you talk a bit about your processes and your use of unmixed pigments?
Charlie Duck: The works in the show are either made with ceramic glazes, powdered pigment or oil paint. I am interested in the degree of control in each medium, and how this influences working with them. Applying raw pigment directly onto paper is like an approximation of painting, whilst also drifting somewhere between drawing and even printmaking. The pigment works are made by working with large stencils in a series of layers and are produced very slowly and methodically. They are the antithesis of how the ceramics were made, where the relinquishing of control is almost absolute. The small oil paintings seek to occupy a space somewhere between these two positions.
MG: We’ve spoken a bit about sculptors such as Giacometti and Turnbull in the past. How do sculptural works relate to your own practice?
CD: I am interested in the inherent materiality and physicality of sculpture and what influence this has in effecting outcome. Approaching it from the position of someone who works predominantly with painting and drawing, there is something utterly alien to me in the decision to render something three dimensionally; it feels very different to painting and drawing and that is significant to me.
MG: Many of the repeated gestures and motifs in your work could be interpreted as comical, especially the caricatured figures who are often found in quite awkward poses. Is humour important in your work?
CD: I think so, yes. Not necessarily in a “ha ha” way but there is definitely an oblique or droll humour to a lot of the work in this show; I like the idea that people might smile when looking at some of it.
MG: The title, Schlep, can mean an arduous journey or can describe the act of carrying something heavy, a burden. How did you come to this as a title for the show?
CD: Art history, notions of place and reflections on travel have been important references in my work for quite some time. The weight of the past, ideas of legacy and reflections on what it is to make work are all present in the work. The title alludes to these ideas, but also I like it simply as a word - how it looks when written down and how it sounds when spoken aloud. When choosing it as a title those were as important to me as what the word itself defines.
MG: You also brought a lot of clay to the gallery, as a more experimental part of your install. What happened?
CD: Ah yes, that didn’t really work out… I built a large clay mound in the gallery - an amorphous lump, approximately six foot by two foot by four foot, with a section removed by a series of diagonal cuts. Unfortunately it just didn’t do what I wanted, so twelve hours after building the thing I took a bread knife to it… thankfully we’d kept the bags!
MG: It’s October now. When do you start wearing long trousers?
CD: Maybe at the Private View?