‘Mash Up’ presented the work of two contemporary London based painters, Peter Harrap and Natasha Kissell. Although distinctly different, Harrap and Kissell have found a shared interest in re-mixing signs and signifiers from a plethora of sources. Old master paintings are spliced with rock posters, rolling English landscapes with sci-fi pulp imagery. These two artists share an irreverent viewpoint on the world, not afraid to muddle the linear discourse of art history.
Peter Harrap produced a series of paintings, each crossing disparate references to create a conundrum of existence. Iconic elements of culture are brought together in a web of free association. By referring both to the greats of art history such as Velasquez and Ingres and to the graphics of Jimi Hendrix posters and Marilyn Monroe repros as well as the mass production of chintzy mantelpiece trinkets and technology in the form of ipods and games consoles, he encompasses the variety of human experience, intensely learned and youthfully pop.
‘Leda: Change Comes in So Many Forms’ jumbles the high culture of myths and the Michelangelo’s ‘Leda and the Swan’ as represented in the framed picture on the all with the low culture of the Led Zeppelin ‘Swan Song’ poster. The banality of a box of matches is invoked to play the game, bearing as it does the Swan brand. The languorous figure on the sofa appears to be prayed upon by the swan on the television screen, perhaps mirroring the story of the great Greek myth, but perhaps not.
These are only tantalising games played by Harrap, the puppeteer able to pull the right strings to set off meaning, and yet so inconclusive as to leave us puzzled. There is no finite answer.