Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Oath Of Armageddon, Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne 10th Feb 2012
Darkness is constant in his artworks, and that relates to both the density of the line and the subject matter it depicts. French is a forefather for the new blood line in a tradition of subcultural aesthetics. With an upbringing of obsessive attention to the grotesque of metal record sleeves and the immoral graphics on skateboards it is worth noting that the artist grew up in a garrison town. Familiar with military machismo, termination machinery and the displays of death, it is no small wonder that French’s morbid tendencies and medically precise depictions of human entrails recur frequently. In recent years he has added to his artillery of imagery (skulls, corpses, executioners, decaying beasts and Black Metal musicians) the regularity of medieval knights, wizards and occult rituals. Compasses and sea-going vessels, hand-forged tools and armour bring us back to a Europe of old, dark ages and discovery, the dawn of science and religions that stood in its way. Wickedness reigns in the absence of illumination.
Science prescribes that black is the absorption of all light frequencies. Similarly French’s work consumes much. Excrutiating amounts of detail and time are applied to a single idea or an image to arrive at the intricate depiction he has conjured. A dark intensity and singularity define the work of French with his priority of the solitary line and, contrastingly, it’s myriad of possibilities.
– Joseph Allen Shea