'Being in a Swamp' 19 July - 1 September 2013

Being in a Swamp, an exhibition of new paintings by Eastern Approaches winner, James Metsoja.

Being in a Swamp is an exploration of the way memories are constructed and how our experiences of the past can affect our perceptions of the future. Metsoja questions what constitutes a personal memory when the images we recollect can so easily be remembered incorrectly or even invented. Are these paintings souvenirs from the past, or visions of the future?

Metsoja's painted images take their reference from a variety of sources, which are combined to create what he calls, ‘abstract diagrams of thought'. In some cases he attempts to collate bombed-out cityscapes with images of war or battle diagrams removed from their original context. In others he might appropriate old family photographs along with scraps of other found images – frequently reusing images found on his studio floor, discarded from past ventures.

Metsoja describes his paintings as being akin to collage - a process of layering, interweaving and reworking themes and motifs. As the creative process moves on, previous ideas are abandoned, worked over, and frequently erased. Each painting, however, still contains evidence of a whole history of painted marks, traces of a different trajectory or another possibility, the memory of which haunts the new one, threatening to resurface.

In some paintings the figures that appear out of the ‘swamp’ have a spectral, disembodied presence: we see bodies without heads, heads without bodies. In others, a figure is hinted at - we see an outline or a shape, which suggests something, hidden (or hiding) and yet present all the same.

Born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, James Metsoja currently lives and works in Norwich. Metsoja graduated with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art from the Norwich School of Art and Design in 2007. Previous exhibitions include a solo show at Outpost, Norwich in 2010 and O Painter! My Painters! a group show at Art Exchange, University of Essex in 2011. In 2007 Metsoja was awarded the Pamela Pulham prize for painting.


For further information please contact UH Galleries on 01707 284290 or uhgalleries@herts.ac.uk

University of Hertfordshire Galleries at the Museum of St Albans
Gallery Opening Times: Mon to Sat 10.00am – 5.00pm, Sun 2.00pm – 5.00pm .  Evening Reception: Thurs 18 July 6.00pm – 8.00pm