David Hancock explores the space between physicality and psychological space using a hyper-realist technique. His exhibition ‘Time to Pretend‘ (The Hub, Manchester 3rd – 18th March 2011) elevates the ordinary to the decidedly extraordinary. Gaming and urban folklore are fused together in these intricate drawings. This realism was made even more extraordinary by the actual presence of his subjects (his friends) wandering round the exhibition on opening night, making their likenesses in these portaits all the more startling!
The work is escapist – yet it plays with reality – a moment in time. The artist uses photographic images which he then translates into a narrative via little pixel like brushstrokes (or in this work, pencil crayon on paper). The results are disconcerting – as the Gamers are simultaneously revealed, yet hide behind these roles, providing the viewer with flashes of revelation which are tantalising.
Hancock documents escapism in our youth subculture and whilst also referencing utopian vision. The reality and unreality of these are what the artist plays with. Escapism through computer gaming and role-playing meets utopia and in the Gaming portraits the individual is attached by an umbilical cord to their controller. Hancock calls these works double portraits as in a sense he is simultaneously showing the two worlds of their personalities as they immerse their selves in their Game playing and their character roles. The work, though contemporary has its roots in Romanticism and the utopian visions held by Ruskin, Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite. The characters take on special powers, hints of which are shown in the portraits as they fly through time to become the hero’s of the now. An interesting and thought-provoking exhibition by Hancock. I shall look forward to seeing his other larger scale work. To really appreciate these images please go to the artist website where larger versions of these works, including many others can be seen.
David Hancock website here
More details of this exhibition here