Monday, 11 October 2010


SAATCHI GALLERY, London  11.10.10

Oil on canvas     150x239cm 
 The upper 4/5th  of this painting is a black, black night into which melts a road and its pavement. A white fence, geometrically perfect, skips along from the left. On the right, glass panes of shop windows stare out at the viewer, unseeing. Anderson's painting leaves us free to penetrate the velvety sky, to listen to the stillness and the silence, to sense the dampness of the wet asphalt. 

 It reminds me of Susie Hamilton’s night-time cityscapes, empty of humans, which I first saw in the 1980s and still covet. She says ‘I like to show the legible and familiar morphing into mysteriousness or ambiguity’

Black Street also reminds me of The Wapping Project’s show Death Drive, 2009, a series of large photographs, beautifully lit, shown in a blacked-out room. They were of empty roads too, each of which had been the location of the death of a celebrity including Marc Bolan, Jayne Mansfield, James Dean and Princess Diana.

  In 2009 I saw a cluster of Anderson’s work - ‘Peter’s Series’ – at Art Now, Tate Britain.  It was set in a 1950s Britain which the artist, born in 1965, could never have known. He painted again and again a small sparse room in some one’s house, which had been set up as a barbershop by newly arrived immigrants (a common practice among first-wave Afro-Caribbeans, according to Anderson). 

 Above is Afrosheen 2009, full of  textures and shapes. At first glance it is reassuringly familiar- nostalgic even. But look again and see its ambiguity. The clutter can shift into an abstract work of red and blue and black blocks, with squares of slate. Clippings and papers appear to float. At the bottom of the painting the floor begins to disappear. At the top, is that an expanse of airy blue sky?

Someone called the work part of ‘a meditative suite of paintings’. Perhaps  'Anderson’s painting hovers between landscape and abstraction?

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