Mercy Pictures


The scope of NEVERLOST is an untenable distance. Ralph Paine and Daniel Malone’s collaboration Two cities, one World, previously shown at Gambia Castle (and the origin of the exhibition’s title), embodies this idea. Oxymoronic phrases like “MAKE HISTORY POVERTY” are coyly painted by Paine in bronze over and above Malone’s contributions. . . the paper damaged from the initial process of sending the work to each other from different cities — now aged a decade on, presented anew, it is a testament to the artists’ relationship. Paine’s solo suite of drawings, TIEPOLO IN AMERICA continues on this theme; sketches reminiscing on time spent in the United States, combined with a grand narrative situating the artist as heir to Giambattista Tiepolo. Paine continues Tiepolo’s method of transplanting myth and legend but for his memories of America. Land of the free, etc. 


Of course, the spectre of another Giovanni weighs on Mercy Pictures here — but Intra has always been an influence of devastating potential. One might wonder whether Pleasure taken in an experience without truth is genuine. One glance and you’ll know. Perhaps a hoax would’ve been the more artistic gesture? Fake News is Mercy Pictures’ speciality. Or maybe not. Malone and Intra don’t wholly complete the reference, but neither do Teghan Burt and Ch’lita Collins. Like the dim ink of the iconic Mercy Pictures stamp lingers, the space — the distance — is poetry. . . superficiality, misunderstanding and conflict. 


Burt’s masterwork Broken hearts the movie, mimics Paine and Malone’s process. On the wall-sized canvas Burt has collaged texts and DMs; conversing, is, a collaborative artform. Collins’ messages like: ”In crush / And have heartache / In Paris and it’s raining” produce the same global feeling as Two cities, one World — whether or not it is real, the affect produces the truth. The same faded watercolour spirit of Burt’s notebook paintings reach artistic conclusion in the mark of a message unsent. It is so raw, in the worst possible way. I feel sick. I want to cry. 


Reality is always undesirable. Sad. Beautiful. Tragic. — the lyrics of the Taylor Swift song mark two of Collins’ photographs, We Both Wake in Lonely Beds in Different Cities. . . In my dreams I Meet You in Warm Conversation. The others: Lana Del Rey poems. Father John Misty lyrics. StockX listings. Armie Hammer quotes. Self-cannibalistic, pop cultural, erotic feeling. Google the meaning of devastation. As her practice continues to develop, Collins’ subject of intimacy becomes cinematic — Broken hearts the movie. NEVERLOST.

JJ Harper.