dépendance is pleased to present Graham Little’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.
The exhibition presents eight delicate gouaches that place lone characters within intimate spaces. The works function as enigmatic and captivating dioramas that represent a deep exploration of potentiality and memory. Little’s subjects are not merely passive sitters; they are active participants in the creation of their own image. The majority of Little’s characters are sourced from fashion magazines from the 1970s and 1980s. Little questions their potential, their needs and what they might be thinking in their staged environment. He immerses himself in their suspended world.
In the works presented, Little often includes apertures. They can serve as a visual gateway out of the diorama, offering his subjects a glimpse into alternate worlds and perspectives. The windows not only play with the principles of perspective and illusion but also convey the human experience in a way that seems to transcend the painting. Whether they symbolize isolation, hope, or the intricacies of human perception, they function as portals through which we explore the intricate interplay between the inside and the outside world.
Little evokes a psychological depth in his subjects. Figures are portrayed in scenes that may appear simple on the surface, but they are rich in emotional complexity. In Untitled (Mother and Child), for instance, the positioning of the mother and her child, alongside the open window, creates a sense of intimacy and connection. The composition suggests a moment of shared emotion between the two figures. Little’s attention to objects, set and figure arrangement, cropping, and lighting creates a dynamic tension that draws the viewer into the ungraspable narrative. The meticulous rendering of textures and objects adds a layer of symbolism to the works. In Untitled (Ball), the depiction of the performer’s task of picking up the fabric is imbued with a sense of dedication and concentration. Little conscientiously arranges elements within his compositions to direct the viewer’s gaze. In Untitled (Boutique), the placement of the hot pink hands of the mannequins, the sweeping movements of the fabric, or the unfolded sweater all become visual cues within a work that captures the qualities of memory and nostalgia.
In his recent work, Little is making references to compositional strategies of modernist abstraction. The way he divides the picture plane into monochromatic areas in Untitled (Mother and Child) creates a tension or mood that can be associated with Moholy-Nagy or Rothko, while the girl hanging the black on white textile in the mountain hut in Untitled (Mountain Top) can be seen as a negotiation with Malevich.
Graham Little (1972, Dundee, UK) lives and works in London. He received a BA in Fine Arts at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee and an MA from Goldsmiths College, London. His work has been presented at Camden Arts Centre, London; Hayward Gallery, London; MoMA PS1, New York; V&A, Dundee and Kunstmuseum, Bochum; Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo; Alison Jacques Gallery, London amongst others. Little’s work is held in the permanent collections of the British Council, London; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; MoMA, New York and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.