The Unforgettables

Overview

We are pleased to present ‘The Unforgettables’, an exhibition of paintings by Christopher Noulton drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Stanley Spencer and the Mexican Day of the Dead to explore themes of nostalgia, surrealism, and remembrance.

Christopher Noulton’s paintings depict an imagined English village seemingly suspended in time. On the surface it embodies an idealised 20th century community, with crisply clothed characters amidst sweeping Art Deco architecture and pristinely manicured gardens. Everything is described in precise detail: a model village where every element has its place and function.

Yet this idyll is haunted by a sense of uncertainty akin to a loss of innocence. What at first appears as the simple life takes on an increasingly unsettling air. The light has a flatness like the moment before the breaking of a storm. Paper cut-outs of figures appear everywhere, a parallel population living their daily lives as silhouettes of their former selves. The theme of the model village is thus continued but with women as the makers. Each is equipped with scissors with which they recreate memories of previous inhabitants, the past casting shadows in the present. The use of paper is reminiscent of the papel picado in Mexican Day of the Dead traditions, but adapted to a peculiarly English context. Christopher’s village is like a re-imagining of Stanley Spencer’s ‘The Resurrection, Cookham’, but instead of a day of judgement, he presents a surreal and fractured ideal to explore the power of nostalgia.

Cutting is a key theme and appears in various guises, from the motif of topiary and the manicured gardens to the sharp tailoring of the figures’ suits and the women’s paper creations. Each image is like a scene cut from a film. Christopher’s compositions are similarly crisp: the elegant Art Deco lines of the buildings are echoed in the sweeping costumes of his figures, while the contrast of topiaried trees and straight edged tarmac creates tight visual patterns. Small cracks in the concrete, child-like graffiti, and a wealth of retro motifs (glam rock song quotes, classic cars) all serve to accentuate the sense of nostalgia, juxtaposed with a quintessential village church and chocolate-box thatched cottages that speak of another, earlier ideal of Englishness. In this way Christopher presents a meticulously imagined world that is built almost entirely from recollections of the past. In doing so he creates images that fix the shape of fading memory, and delve into the potency of nostalgia.

‘The Unforgettables’ opens on Thursday 8 February, 6:30-8:30pm. To register to receive the PDF preview catalogue please email the gallery.

Artworks

Christopher Noulton | Love Wars
Christopher Noulton
Love Wars
Christopher Noulton | Now We Rise and We Are Everywhere
Christopher Noulton | Scene From a Resurrection
Christopher Noulton
Scene From a Resurrection
Christopher Noulton | The Stillness
Christopher Noulton
The Stillness
Christopher Noulton | Radar Love
Christopher Noulton
Radar Love
Christopher Noulton | The Unforgettables
Christopher Noulton
The Unforgettables
Christopher Noulton | All I Want Is A Vision Of You
Christopher Noulton
All I Want Is A Vision Of You
Christopher Noulton | The Paper Wedding
Christopher Noulton
The Paper Wedding
Christopher Noulton | The Visitors
Christopher Noulton
The Visitors
Christopher Noulton | The Concrete Trees
Christopher Noulton
The Concrete Trees
Christopher Noulton | The Blue Flame
Christopher Noulton
The Blue Flame
Christopher Noulton | The Hive Mind
Christopher Noulton
The Hive Mind
Christopher Noulton | Paper Ghosts
Christopher Noulton
Paper Ghosts

The Unforgettables

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