Alien subjects

11. 3. 2006 - 22. 4. 2006

vamiali’s gallery is proud to present the first solo show in Athens of British artist Sam Herbert titled “Alien Subjects”.
Sam Herbert presents a new series of paintings and small scale watercolours.

In his paintings Samuel Herbert draw upon photographs from 19th and 20th century archives, the film industry, historical sources and postcards, to remake images of Britain’s imperial heritage, colonial history and aristocracy. The results echo archaic genres of painting, eliciting an uncomfortable empathy for groups associated with oppression. The images, initially appearing to be from Victorian times, are often recreated from documents within living memory. His method is fastidious and laborious. His palette develops organically and pragmatically in relation to the subject and scale of each work. The common denominator between his reds, umbers, browns, and soft greys is that they are all colours in relation with his subjects. His monochrome palettes are “filters through which we can view these fictional worlds”. The works like "Tour of Duty", "Cluedo", "The Family", "Vogue", look like they are covered by a transparent film. Herbert avoids the sharpness in his paintings in an attempt to whitewash the heavy image. To play with our sense of time, he represents the strong scenes of the past with those that were reproduced in the film industry many years later. For example in the “Tour of Duty”, the image resembles the earliest photography from the 1860s, although the source was actually a photograph taken in the 1960s.

Herbert likes to upset our expectation of what is historical and what contemporary. His protagonists are coming from the relatively recent past but they seem unfamiliar while the political references are presented crudely without political statements and judgements. Herbert reveals the full extent to which, as novelist LP Hartley has written, “the past is a foreign country”.

Sam Herbert was born in 1976. He studied at Goldsmith’s College and he lives and works in London. He has participated in many group exhibitions and his works belongs in many public and private collections.

"Cluedo", 2006, oil on canvas, 160x160 cm

"Tour of Duty", 2004, oil on canvas, 210x150 cm

"The family", 2006, oil on canvas, 180x140 cm

"Eye to eye", 2006, oil on canvas, 51x57 cm

"Vogue", 2006, oil on canvas, 107x61 cm

"The Director ", 2006, oil on canvas, 45x45 cm

"Untitiled", 2005-6, watercolor on paper, 15x20 cm each