Oliver Watts, Steering for Dream, 2019. Acrylic on polyester canvas, 183 x 152cm. Courtesy: the artist and Chalk Horse, Sydney.
Chalk Horse presents the solo exhibition Autopilot Steering by Oliver Watts.
Watts sets his sights on the yacht club and the fishing boat. Supplanting romantic notions of the captain in charge of the ship, fisherman are not heroic but seasick, the skipper has an uncertain hold on masculinity and the deck shoe is worn like a marker of a safe club. Far from being in charge the boat appears in charge of its self.
Not quite satirical, the works show sympathy for a subject whose subjecthood is imparted from external sources. Edvard Munch and Edward Hopper were all sailors who turned middle class imagery into the universal. Now in the contemporary world this universality is not something that is conjured by the scenes of a the sea.
Watts is a conceptual artist whose works uncover the strange ideological images and performances that underpin our society, from law to religion; from sport to racial violence. His work proposes that art has a subversive part to play within these frameworks of power.
Exhibition opens: 6–8pm Thursday 6 June 2019