Damian Moppett – Half Life MARCH 24–MAY 6, 2023

Damian Moppett
Half Life
March 24–May 6, 2023

Catriona Jeffries

Damian Moppett’s Half Life presents a new body of work that collapses painting, sculpture, and photography into singular objects that both simulate and engage physical reality. Sculpture as painting, or painting as sculpture, the works are an equitable halfway point between both mediums, and each begins as a photograph taken by the artist. Cropped images with most of their negative space removed, along with their equally chopped subjects, are translated as vivid, richly complex oil paintings directly onto thick white aluminum planes. The metal shapes were precisely cut to the photographic image itself and then supported as three-dimensional painted objects either for the floor or wall. The image’s physicality is emphasized through this new sculptural form, and as one moves around the work, the painted picture distorts and disappears, revealing the strangely specific white shapes of cropped positive space.

The images themselves began as random snapshots from the artist’s domestic life. They are intentionally banal and generalized, avoiding what would constitute a “good” photograph or a dynamic pictorial composition as basis. Together, the works are relatable in the blend of unspecific events and the minutiae of the every day, avoiding the overtly symbolic as a dominant creative structure. Unsettling in terms of photographic perspective, the strange distortion of the camera lens as mechanism is visible, important and further amplified when negative space and certain visual information is precisely removed from the picture. Intriguingly, there is no clear logic as to what exactly is left out of the original image, as the cropping method seems to change from work to work. To further confound, the unclear cropping strategy quite often does not relate to the image itself and is seemingly a balance of an intentional and unintentional process.

In this body of work, Moppett interferes with the ease of our processing and understanding of the specific elements that comprise painting, sculpture, and photography, mediums Moppett has been working between since the 1990s. We are asked to challenge our expectations and what we may take for granted as inherent qualities of each medium. Concurrently, most “things” in the image seem to be partial, their whole never revealed in the fleeting moment of a quick photograph and the artist’s editing method. Moppet thereby creates a weird, almost transitory experience of a work that comes and goes in presenting itself by avoiding a positional resolve. In this method of making an object but partially denying its objecthood, the work reveals much more of each mediums’ potential.

Documentation by Rachel Topham Photography.