Artists who have participated in exhibitions at Griffin Gallery are featured below.

Neal Rock

'In 1943 Dow Chemicals and Corning Glass collaborated to create the synthetic polymer, silicone. Its origins, like many plastic materials, had emerged out of the war effort in the 1940s, quickly spreading to inhabit the worlds of film, children’s toys, the sex industry, household implements, cosmetic surgery and prosthetics. Before I even knew, as a child of the ‘80s, my world in both its interior fabric and outward constitution, was moulded and reinforced through a shape-shifter. TV re-runs of Irvin Yeaworth’s The Blob, miniature figures from sci-fi space-operas, jelly-moulds and kitchen stirring spoons.

In 2007 I moved to Los Angeles, working as a caterer in Hollywood golf clubs and bartending at movie events. Silicone was a plastic material I had no name for in adolescence. In Los Angeles its name was imbedded in sheaths of tanned skin, its contours enhancing, supporting, constricting bodies that looked just as synthetic. My sense of interiority shifted. After art school I became an awkward disciple of French theory, from Barthes to Foucault. I often grimaced as their ideas permeated culture much like the leaking sacks of silicone poisoning bodies of ageing actors and models. I considered various points of convergence between differing illinteriorities. I interpreted leakage not as a problem of intention but the result of infected conditions of reception. As biography and memoir began its trickle-down to the level of academic permissibility, I often felt that an I could function as an assemblage of material for the further questioning of relations to otherness.

I continued with silicone in spite of the awkward catechisms of Expanded Painting. The transference of thought from one place to another began to mimic the transport of a synthetic material whose history spans the lives of senior citizens; war children. Fixated on the link between physical movement and hermeneutics I froze the moment Cy Twombly moved to Rome in 1957. He severs himself from New York in a hermeneutic gesture that spits broken line across continents. Old Europe and American proto-performances in paint.

Orlan became an armature around which the sedimentation of paint and substrate reorganised themselves out of theocratic ideas. Lines dotting her face in the theatre of surgery, crossing doodles and wrinkles with puppet-like actions of west LA bodies holding rubber, forcing against a synthetic inside. I found kindred spirits in BDSM and Catherine Malabou, both of which became objects for the articulation of unseen things; one of an essentialism in repetition and distortion, the other a form of idealism that distorts the lingering spectre of Hegel, as if we can all linger in the restlessness of that doubt. I saw the negative, the idealism of doubt, as generative of making work, the making and unmaking of materials that create a scaffolding around an all too fictive I. I got restless in the luxury of that I. Bodies that move for money sixty hours a week.

I flinch at the early work of the Gilbreths, the horror of instrumentalisation. I am eleven years old, playing with mercury in an abandoned factory of a local steels works,puddled metal in my hand. Two decades later that same hand touches the slab cold skin of my father’s face. I feel weight differently now.'



1976, UK


PhD Painting - Royal College of Art, London, 2010 - 2016

MFA - Central Saint Martins School of Art & Design, London, 1999 - 2000

BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting - University of Gloucestershire, UK, 1996 - 1999

(Last updated 17.06.2016)