“I hope this exhibition evokes a sense of dislocation, spurring the viewer to question the moral and political crossroads our civilisation has now reached.”
Dellasposa Gallery presents a new solo exhibition by Darren Coffield. In this new series of work inspired by the Old Master paintings in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, Coffield fuses classical inspirations with digital distortions.
“I became interested in how these images of this humanitarian crisis are represented in the media. My works take classical images and combine them with the digital glitches you get from a bad signal, breaking up the composition with coloured stripes that evoke the banality of the British seaside: bright stripy deck chairs and sticks of rock.”
With these colourful stripes, Coffield creates an eerie juxtaposition, using the beach as a cultural reference to explore its uses as a place of leisure as well as death.
The people depicted become anonymous with these digital glitches, resembling the barcodes associated with relentless mass production, vast consumerism and scale, reinforcing the sheer quantity of people directly affected by mass migration. Coffield’s paintings evoke the duality of anonymity and individualism of migration and travel: bringing this wave of humanity to the forefront of the viewer’s mind and exposing its unrelenting reality. Desperate, overfilling ships and boats ebb and wane in the beating sun, while the bodies of Coffield’s figurative works are left hopelessly beached. The detail in the paintings forces the viewer to confront that this is not happening in some faraway land to beings unlike ourselves. Visible to all and ignored by many, this is an ongoing, urgent and often fatal situation.