A Brief History of History Painting focuses on key work by the artist. Faceless figures are seen floating or falling between opposing realms. The poetics of the painting imply that, rather than the specific narrative of an individual, this is the metaphor of a wider human condition.
The exhibition does not look to tie De Freston’s work down to a singular creative vision or painterly type. Instead it embraces diversity, with a firm belief that the works will strike up conversations between themselves, which will be more insightful and accurate than any imposed synopsis.
Other figures (Lovers Discourse) are seen acrobatically flinging themselves across ambiguous stages. The eroticism of their gymnastic energy suggest a mournful dance to an absent other. The melodrama of their plight moves the images towards tragic comedy. Its excessiveness leads us beyond pity. Any pity we do feel is perhaps more aligned to the emptiness and the emotional display.
In Fast Judgement a ‘Welcomer’ draws us in to become spectators of some apocalyptic scene of falling forms. The heroic masculinity of the ‘Welcomer’ is stripped down by his outfit of vibrant boxers and socks. They seem to emasculate him, belying his serious nature and turning him into a figure of ridicule. Along with colouration it seems that emotive oppositions are consciously set up in the image.