Visibly Evident
David Ross
Untitled, 2011
At first glance, from what is ‘visibly evident’, we could, at best, be encountering offcuts from Anthony Caro’s Early One Morning or modernist sculptor Tony Smith’s backyard pictorial ‘bits’ sprayed a garish colour and stuck together. Or is this simply junk, made pictorial in a landscape setting?
This ‘thing’, fly-tipped on Wormwood Scrubs, an old London duelling ground, under the shadow of the prison, raises several questions – and, typically, provides no answers.
Ross’s framing of discarded scrap plastic becomes something else . . . perhaps recording the aftermath of an incident of north-west London aggression, or Marcel Duchamp’s ‘getaway valise’, smashed, after an unsuccessful prison break. This photographic encounter, with its clashing complementary colours, could be classed as ‘normal’, but not in a documentary sense. This is no record, nor the ‘decisive moment’. It is much more surreal, more uncertain than that.
At the same time as he made this photograph, David Ross was working on his ‘Beautiful Western’ series: images of half-remembered or imagined scenes from the John Ford Wild West films he grew up watching. The paintings from this series are as much about colour and the act of painting and memory as they are about Western film narrative. Could this photograph, certainly a consummate colourist’s exercise in simultaneous contrast, also be depicting a sculptural maquette of a more modern shoot-out, a collision, a model of an abandoned frontier town – its roofs caved in? Ross’s technicolour photograph is a visual encounter that Morricone never did the soundtrack to – and which was never filmed.
David Ross (1941–2012) conceived and curated the first showing of ‘Visibly Evident’ in London in 2010. This fourth incarnation of the exhibition is a homage to him and his idea – as it is to two artists from that original exhibition, John Blake and Terry Bond, who have also since passed away.
Solo and group exhibitions include: ‘Mondrian, de Bomen Het Bos’, Locus Solus, Antwerp (2011); ‘Visibly Evident’, Spinach, London (2011); ‘Visibly Evident’, OPEN Ealing Arts Centre, London (2011); ‘Visibly Evident’, conceived and curated by David Ross, Central Space Gallery, London (2010); ‘David Ross’, Arti et Amicitiae, The Rokin, Amsterdam (2008); ‘David Ross’, Gone To-morrow Gallery, London (2007); 'Trilogy Two', Atlas Space, with John Mitchel & Enzo D’Agostino (2006); 'Trilogy One', Atlas Space, with John Mitchel & Enzo D’Agostino (2006); ‘Drawing’, Central Space Gallery, London, with Nick Pearson (2005); Jerwood Drawing Prize (Touring show) (2005); ‘SKIN’, De Branderez, Antwerp (2005); ’David Ross’, Atlas Space, London (2003); ‘A Suitable Case’, Central Space Gallery, London (2002); ‘Angelus Novas’, Century Gallery, London (2001).