The Return of Saul
Untitled#207 (Alex), 2009. Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery
In lieu of a jolly homecoming after twelve years away, the typically interiew-shy Saul Fletcher returns to the London art scene with a show of his signature melancholy, ghostly photography, assemblage, and paintings at the Alison Jacques Gallery. Through Polaroids of his friends, family and photos of his collection of peronal artifacts—lace, paint, crow’s feet, drawings, pages torn from his journals, the mummified body of a pigeon and other talismanic objects, all mounted on black fabric. It’s a shamanic approach by the self-taught artist who began shooting pictures in the lush, but gray, rural Lincolnshire landscape where he was born in the late 1960s.
Painting with sticks and childrens’ water-based paint, Fletcher retains an intimate unpolished earthy aspect to his work influenced by his rural upbringing. “Everything that we ever had in our house was cobbled together,” he says. “Every bike I had was made from three or four bikes that I put together to make one good one, so I suppose that’s what I do in the work. I use whatever I have to hand, trying to create something, trying to make something good out of something bad. I don’t like anything that’s new or clean. It’s not me.” Despite the work’s macabre appearance, Fletcher is happy to show again in the city where he started. As Gina Buenfeld, of the Alison Jacques says,”I think there is something particular about showing in your hometown. Saul is a special character, a sensitive artist, and I think the distance afforded by exhibiting overseas made for a welcome alternative to the frenetic energy of the London art world, which is all too close to home sometimes.” Fletcher agrees. “I have still been showing and making work, just not in London,” he says. “It felt long enough. I was confident enough to play at home. And I got asked by a brilliant gallery and it all seemed to fit-to feel right. A long time between shows is a good thing.”
Saul Fletcher is on view through June 27. Alison Jacques Gallery is located at 16–18 Berliners Street, London.