Time Out

Dryden Goodwin

Martin Coomer

Stephen Friedman Gallery - West End
September 13 – 20 2006
No 1882
Dryden Goodwin draws a fine line between intimacy and voyeurism. For the ‘Cradle’ series of 2002, he took photographs of passers-by and, blowing the pictures up large, scratched a network of lines across there faces, The title suggests infancy and, resembling a caul, the incised lines could be said to add a layer of protection to Goodwin’s unknown subjects but equally, his actions appear indicative of unhealthy obsession or surgical intrusion.

In 2004’s Red Studies’ – portraits of Friends and families – he overlays poses to create images of fluctuating intensity. Often the exquisite watercolours bracket a dawn of realisation as a look of distraction, for example, turns to one of horror. Viewed together, the two series seem to make a more general comment about the way we read undue significance into glances of strangers, while failing to register the myriad expressions of our nearest and dearest. In which case a third series – of 30 near-identical self-portraits shown individually and as a trembling animation – makes an intentionally laboured point about portraiture’s limited powers of revelation.

Goodwin’s steadfast treatment of his subject matter might seem a million miles away from Andy Warhol but, on show in the rear gallery, Warhol’s ‘Over 40’ reveals a similar interest in the gap between display and disclosure; in this instance, he uses a degraded printed image to make a joke about the efficacy of an anti-ageing product. Also on show are three wonderful early self-portraits by Cindy Sherman dressed as a gaunt ‘Jealous Husband’, an arrogant ‘Bus Rider’ and sulking ‘Daughter’, and a very funny drawing by Jockum Nordstrom in which leaps in scale and style are used to undermine notions of domestic bliss. Called ‘I Lied to You’, it encapsulates the deceitful nature of this enjoyable show.