Gallery Archive - DALE ATKINSON The Maggot Bites Again 12 April 1997 - 09 May 1997
As a student Dale Atkinson was a nonconformist. Not for him the obedient imitation of current fashions. Instead, he made paintings of stories his father told him when he was a child. These visionary images, full of radical disjunctions of scale, present a universe of materiality, located somewhere between that of Durer and Richard Dadd. They were never conceived as literal narratives but there is no doubt that if they were subjected to the post-Freudian analysis typified by Bruno Bettelheim’s, ‘The Uses of Enchantment’, which reveals the underlying, darker content of fairy tales, they would yield rich material.
Throughout his career though, Atkinson has been more interested in what he calls, “the psychology of paint”, the way in which a chance mark or a change of colour can utterly alter identity and significance. His new paintings typify this. Much more pared down, they are the result of a process wherein whole figures and objects disappear, leaving only resonant fragments. They are images of transitoriness; glimpses of a provisional, often confusing world. As Atkinson himself states, “It’s the involuntary chatter of the subconscious that sets apart the human condition; the social roles that overshadow and transform personality, gnawing away at its equilibrium”.
Born in Sunderland in 1962, Dale Atkinson studied at Sunderland Art College and at the Fine Art Department of Newcastle University between 1981 and 1986. After a brief period in Bristol, he now lives with his family in Newcastle where he has his studio.