GAVIN TREMLETT
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lives and works in London, U.K.

education

1996 - 1999          Loughborough University School of Art and Design, BA Fine Art (Painting)
2001 - 2004         Royal Academy Schools, London, Master of Fine Art


exhibitions

2006         
  THE HOBBY, Wohnmaschine, Berlin
2005         
  Wohnmaschine, Berlin
  FAUX REALISM, Rockwell, London
2004       
  THE ARRIVALS, The Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London
  THE FIRST ASSEMBLY, The Ragged School, London Bridge, London
  Royal Academy Schools, London
2003       
  Summer Show, Royal Academy, London
  THE PROTECTIVE CLOTHING COMPANY, The Knox Gallery, London
  Sackler Gallery, Royal Academy, London
2000       
  I CAN`T PAINT HORSES, Gallery Westland Place, London
  Foundry, London
1999       
  Loughborough School of Art and Design
1998       
  UNIFORMLY VARIED, Susan Oppenheim Gallery, Repton, Leicestershire
1997       
  Rainbows Hospice, Loughborough
The current series of works by the British painter consists of distressing portraits.
In a style that recalls Italian painting of the late sixteenth century, with distortions
that follow in the tradition of Francis Bacon, Tremlett visualizes a physicality that is
both highly charged sexually and tends to the uncanny.

Tremlett is primarily interested in the process of painting, which he studies using the
example of the human body. His full-figure portraits and studies of male and female
adolescent bodies are presented against undefined backgrounds. The postures and
poses of his sitters are grotesquely overdrawn, and their young faces seem
displaced and lost. Despite their mannered nakedness, the figures are not so much
the expression of a subtle eroticism; rather, they exude an atmosphere of intimate
distress.

Tremlett’s style is influenced by historical models like Caravaggio, pornographic
photographs of various centuries, and contemporary glossy magazines, to which the
exhibition’s title, THE HOBBY, alludes with ironic sarcasm. Using Caravaggio’s
chiaroscuro techniques, Tremlett produces paintings of bodies with sculptural effect.
They seem to give off light and thus confront the viewer with their immediate
presence. His deliberately provocative presentation of his figures locates Tremlett’s
paintings between vulgarity and a yearning for figuration.

Tremlett’s series of portrait heads—fictive faces, to which he applies countless
glazes, deforming them layer by layer, are pointedly antithetical to conventions of
beauty and typical ideal faces; he views them as deliberately posed, aesthetic
regression.

In a way quite contrary to the meticulousness with which Tremlett treats the
materiality of his paintings, the design of the backgrounds of the paintings
represents the moment of dissolution. Where the bodies seem translucent and
immaterial, they are transformed into the planes of abstract painting. At the point
of intersection between the body presented and the gaze, the surface of the body
and the flatness of painter confront the viewer like a projection screen.