Dave Miko
'Look Back, Look Ahead, Look Sideways'
19 September - 25 October 2008

Dave Miko’s paintings like to hide: sometimes camouflaged as furniture, or obfuscated by repetition. Some paintings are forced to take centre-stage with clear messages spelt out in words or phrases but the letters try to slink back into the painting’s ground. Those that ‘fail’ are re-used as functional objects, setting up the question of whether function is a punishment for failure to perform, or a more worthy pursuit entirely. It is this ambivalence: challenging his doubts, or re-affirming his faith in his own output whatever the end usage, that sets Miko apart from fellow painters.

Multiplicity, mutability and hints at existential crisis rise up again and again as themes.
The 8 x 8 inch square paintings of the ‘Empty Rooms’ series depict an identical corner of an empty room: the intersection of floor, walls and ceiling. Each plane comprises of solid blocks of contrasting colours, and placed side by side they construct a phantasmagorical architecture out of an individual existential cell, en masse they achieve a form of camouflage: empty rooms become a mesmerizing frieze of hypnotic perspectival abstraction. The ‘Lost Paintings’ use function as camouflage. Having failed Miko’s desires for them as paintings, they become benches, shelves and generally try to make themselves useful within the exhibition space. Sanded down and inked over using a purple dye most often associated with cash register receipt printing they take on a new aesthetic as ‘design object’.

The ‘Strata’ paintings are the most recent development in Miko’s practise and take a similar anti-exclusionist stance. Rather than being forced to inhabit the one-dimensional realm of wall display and illusionistic surface, the normally forgotten and rejected reverses of his paintings are built up as form. Sat on a shelf the viewer is encouraged to handle these newly forged ‘objects’. Shelves are where objects and detritus collect - making tangential, non-linear links. The assortment of paintings exhibited on each shelf, though carefully selected, immediately suggests a random sense of community, full of alien interlopers. There is the possibility that the collection will always be unfinished or in a state of flux, picked up, handled and re-ordered by whoever passes by.