The first thing that hits is the smell. Not that usual art gallery smell of MDF dust in the air from recently built walls, or the smell of the emulsion that covers them, but a heavy, pungent, oily paint smell hanging heavy in the air. The visual impact isn't far behind - mouth wateringly decadent swirls and eddies of colour rise out of the inky black canvasses like coral appearing out of misty aquamarine water, or nimbus clouds billowing out of endless azure skies, or the retina-scorching clarity of gas giants and moons against the dizzying nothing of space. Opulent flowers bloom against aged backgrounds that resemble old scarlet velvet, and schools of tropical fish hover on the edge of existing in the patterns and paintily flourishes. The effect is one of visual overload, in the best possible way - the eye becomes hungry for more of these treasures with their strings of stellar pearls and naggingly familiar forms made of drips and explosions of decadently drooled paint.
These paintings are so very beautiful, and yet so very overdone, that in the tension between abject appreciation and borderline repulsion I don't know whether I want to laugh, cry or throw up; but the resulting indecision allows me to gorge on them for just another few moments.© John Brainlove 2006
Alisa Margolis at Vilma Gold 12th Jan - 12 Feb 2006.
VILMA GOLD 25b Vyner Street, London. E2 9DG
T: +44 (0)20 8981 3344