Robots, Saints and (Extra)Ordinary People
The Specials bassist unveils his debut art exhibition, creating a new iconography from everyday objects and people
Horace Panter, bassist of ’70s ska sensation The Specials, presents his very first art exhibition this winter. It will run 22nd November – 3rd December 2011 at The Strand Gallery, London.
With influences ranging from Pop Art to iconic forms of political propaganda, Horace’s ultra-modern images are a head-on collision between the codified, anti-realist language of iconography and the modern world’s jumble of religions, technologies and ideologies.
From the paint-box cool of Beijing’s high streets, its uniformed cleaners and the ubiquitous presence of military personnel to the classically-drawn robot of 1950s sci-fi, Horace’s style brings together a riot of images, times and places through which he forces the viewer to consider who and what is a valid contender
for centre stage.
Whilst inspired by such artists as Peter Blake, Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland and Wayne Thiebaud, Horace is also fascinated by traditional forms of orthodox iconography. Seeing them as ‘art with a purpose,’ he acknowledges their functionality as venerated objects while simultaneously recognising their beauty as cultural artefacts.
Appropriating the styles and influences of traditional iconography, juxtaposed with the naive painterly style of Henri Rousseau and the sculptural images of political propaganda posters, Horace subverts original meanings and contexts to create paintings laden with ambiguity and playfulness. Questioning the narrative of the icon, he aims to reproduce his own unique form of neo-iconography. He says:
“You ‘write’ an icon, just like you ‘write’ graffiti, and all the rules of art are thrown out of the window (perspective, chiaroscuro, etc., just like graffiti). Hopefully, they achieve a rare reverence without being pretentious.”