Introducing Against the Tide, Darren Coffield’s most shocking and subversive exhibition yet.
Using visual wit to confront and interpret historical, cultural and political issues, British artist, Darren Coffield, presents his latest series of paintings at Dellasposa Gallery. The solo exhibition confronts contemporary anxieties around immigration, fake news, and the “dilemma of identity” in the 21st Century.
“I hope this exhibition evokes a sense of dislocation, spurring the viewer to question the moral and political crossroads our civilisation has now reached”, says Darren Coffield.
In the last 20 years, more than 60,000 migrant deaths have been recorded globally. In this new group 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 combines 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, he 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.