Richard Proffitt | Online exhibition: to a wasted shimmer, lasting state | Online exhibition

18 November - 17 December 2022
Richard Proffitt | to a wasted shimmer, lasting state | 18th November - 17th December 2022


The spectral warping of paint in these works on paper creates shapes and timbres that barely function as descriptors and instead drift in and out of clarity, with flourishes that perforate soft layers of ambiguous background scenery. Techniques employed arrive by chance and references to the history of painting are incidental with mercurial boundaries between real and recollected.


The ethereal landscapes of To a wasted shimmer, lasting state offer alternate realities or portals into a parallel world. They represent a balancing act between deciphering a mood and the physical nature of the painterly process. They half remember experiences from a formative time, like growing up in a suburban council estate before the internet connected those with subcultural dispositions and arcane musical taste. Spending most evenings roaming around on the wastelands and through a warren of terraced houses where wind might bellow, whistle or hum depending in its direction. The one streetlamp illuminating a bus terminus, headlights blinking around corners or a flickering TV from behind net curtains, out in the shed with carpet on the walls, making tapes off the radio to give to friends.


Amongst the mattresses and broken televisions strewn across the green, there was pack of feral dogs. The shop was a cube of grey bricks with a queue coiling outwards because there was only room for one customer at a time and inside you had to ask for what you wanted and drop your money in a hatch. It would be great to arrive back with cigarettes and skins but it was hit or miss getting served and you might buy a newspaper to appear more mature, straightening up to look taller for the woman behind the grill. The skins and fags inside your coat, and dropping a bunch of bars and sweets in baggy back pockets, two Capri Sun pouches in hand.


He had tunnelled his way out of the shed just in time, holding on to the hedges and gates with the onset of spinnies.


After making his way back across the green, he propped himself against the low garden wall of a pebble dashed house to take a few breaths and spread out the newspaper, leaving down one of the Capri Sun as a paper weight. He pulled the straw from the other one and pierced it at the base, not bothered trying to spear the tiny evasive aperture in his current state. He sucked up the sugary liquid, squeezing the pouch until it was flat, gazing at disparate images rippled by the breeze. He folded the newspaper under his arm and took a look over his shoulder before taking the long way back to clear his head.


Turning a corner, he was hit full force by a gust of wind. Bits of detritus rolled along past him as he persevered through the darkened estate. Buildings barred and blockaded punctuated his route and he stopped outside a house with all windows lit up. He peered through the lace curtains at the back of a man's thickset neck and head, squinting to see what was on the telly. A woman dancing her way through the club in slow motion, flicking her hair from side to side and contorting her body against a shimmer of gold lamé, sliding along the top of a bar, arching her back and landing onto the dance floor in a choreographed manoeuvre while two barman continued serving cocktails to revellers.


The thick necked man reached for a can of beer and with the movement shifting the trance, he faced back into the wind.


It was quiet, save the whistling and a few bangers going off in the distance. He pulled his jacket around him, holding it closed with his fists in both pockets while thick low clouds started pelting large drops of rain at his exposed face. His trouser legs flapped against his calves. Beside the path, on a stretch of softened, upturned earth - a white horse cantered unpredictably, tethered by a long rope to a breeze block. It rose up and kicked its hooves against the oncoming storm before doubling back and shaking the wet from its mane.


By the time he got back to the shed, he was almost sober again and pinched his fingers around the butt of a duck-arsed joint, handed to him as soon as he stepped inside the door. The lads were parodying a Queen video using the kaleidoscopic effect on a camcorder hooked up to a small TV. 'Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?' and they were harmonising convincingly in between fits of laughter, 'Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality', the low watt bulb dangling from the ceiling - creating the perfect play of light and shadow across their faces.


Text written by Ingrid Lyons