Date: 28 April 2002
Only a few paintings, the rest framed up drawings. Does it takes too long to paint all the bricks? Like a David Hockney who didn't go to Los Angeles, but fell in love with the ugly beauty of brown housing estates, meticulously transcribed Graffiti can also be seen in Nigel Cooke's paintings, it may be something of a fad. Perhaps with deliberate irony, or perhaps not, the paintings remind you of the careful boy in school who drew the curves on racing cars with a ruler, taken to some logical adult extreme. Social realism badly painted to reflect the disjointedness of what is depicted, Rayson and co. at least seem to show landscapes that resonate with the city dweller's experince of rubbish strewn euphoria. We can the smae sort of thin in Grand Tourists' painting of crumbling walls in Naples, but their picturesqueness was determined by their foreignness. Rayson and to a certain extent Billingham's work is not geographically foreign but certainly socioeconomically distant to the crowds who sip wine with their backs to the images of poverty. It could be viewed as a revival of patronising Victorian genre painting of orphans and other poor people dressed in the dull clothes of photorealism. But it is probably a little better than that.
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