From Rebecca Gallo…
Drew Bickford takes us to places where many dare not trespass. To the murky corners of the imagination and the subconscious where hideous spectres lurk, where animal and human flesh coalesce in gruesome conflations of object and subject. In Bickford’s latest ink and graphite drawings, beastly hybrid figures are wedged between bold As, Vs and Ns. Typography provides a severe structure upon which organic forms are hung, entangled and occasionally impaled. As well as acting as a compositional device, this textual element suggests the alluring possibility of concrete meaning. There is a narrative, or at least an evocative thread in the titles: these works are named after imposing peaks and mythological creatures, summoning ancient powers and superstitions. Geography and mythology are interwoven, suggesting the unreality of reality, and the reality of the unreal.
Rather than leading with the monstrous, Bickford’s drawings function like a good horror film: we are led in by sensuous textures and impressive production values, only to be sideswiped by the gruesomeness of the content. Sinew, fur and decaying flesh are drawn with such care and skill that they are rendered seductive. It is this presence of beauty within the horrific that makes Bickford’s drawings compelling and powerful.
Until August 28
Flinders Street Gallery, Surry Hills
Pic: Drew Bickford, Tiki Kapu, 2015, pen and ink on paper, 65 x 84 cm (framed).