Merlin James / David Schutter.
After Poussin, after Ruisdael: Tradition, translation and transcription
2 December 2019 – 25 January 2020
In 1995 Merlin James made a series of paintings and drawings reflecting on the seventeenth century French artist Nicolas Poussin’s painting Landscape with the Funeral of Phocion (1648) in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
Between 2006 and 2007 David Schutter made a series of paintings for which the point of departure was the seventeenth century Dutch artist Jacob van Ruisdael’s painting Haarlem Seen from the Northwestern Dunes (c. 1670-75) in the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin.
The presentation now on show at A-M-G5 brings together one of Schutter’s ‘Ruisdael’ paintings and a small selection of James’s paintings and drawings after Poussin. The aim is not simply to draw attention to painting’s historicity – the essentially historical nature of painting as a practice and the of painter who engages in this practice – but to look at questions of tradition, translation and transcription; what and how paintings mean, and what they do. What did Poussin’s and Ruisdael’s paintings mean to those who first saw them? How differently do we look at an old painting and a new one? How do you situate the past in the space of the present?