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Tom de Freston

The first painting I was drawn to was Tom’s ‘Bathroom’ (2013). I came for the colours and I stayed for the intriguing dichotomy at work.

To me it felt like an older painting (or at least an older technique, its impasto-quality made me think of Van Gogh) was trying to invade a modern domestic setting (albeit a strange one of course), which I thought would be an interesting route to explore with form.

What I ended up doing was having fun with a slight rhyming scheme and contrasting the language of grand love with the realities of living with a partner, drain blasters and all.

What I took from the painting is that there is something both silly and horrifying about the way that being in a couple can make you feel less like a whole human being/horse. It’s an invasion, a transformation. Exes (or old masters) loom over you to disrupt or solidify emerging patterns. You negotiate ways in which to be, in which to accommodate these inevitable clashes.

I don’t think the painting was interested in an easy resolution, and nor was I. It’s more of a sur le vif.