Date(s) - 30/07/2020 - 20/08/2020
Tim Gatenby’s latest show, Nice Day Out, draws upon a collective consciousness that emerged in the UK at the end of lockdown.
Contrasting feelings of relief and anxiety, joy and adversity overwhelms our attempt to return to normal life. This new normal is not
carefree; society is in turmoil and the unending threat of coronavirus leaves us uneasy.
Gatenby’s new body of work aptly reflects a popular culture corrupted by this troubling everyday life. His paintings depict cartoon
characters exploring vices like drug and alcohol abuse, vanity and gluttony as means to relieve shared societal concerns of
deprivation, political stability, public health and the superficiality of modern capitalism.
As such, these popular cartoon characters represent the innocence of youth as corrupted by the darker sides of adulthood. Bart
Simpson, once bright and energetic, is now portrayed as washed-up after overindulging in drugs, alcohol and fast food. The
overweight characters are inspired by Elvis Presley, addicted to fast food they are bloated versions of themselves. For these
transformed characters, there is a dystopian unhappiness in their transformed selves.
In the football paintings, these characters appear together to recapture the carefree youthfulness felt while playing with friends. The
iconic designs of retro Manchester United shirts, fused with comedy legends Bevis and Butthead, immediately transport the viewer
to the 1990s and a nostalgia for more innocent days. For Gatenby, sport is the antithesis to fast food and substance abuse. It offers
a rare opportunity for people to come together in a polarised and often lonely world.