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Music Shop Music

Galerie Thomas Fuchs, Stuttgart

Oct-November 2020

From Oct 23 to Nov 21, 2020, Galerie Thomas Fuchs holds its first solo exhibition of British artist Danny Romeril ( born in 1996 in Jersey, GB; lives and works in London, GB ).

Many of Danny Romeril’s paintings revolve around the theme of music, with jazz musicians playing a particularly important role in his oeuvre. For his latest series, however, the artist concentrates solely on instruments displayed in a fictional music store and refrains from the presence of any figures. The contrast between musical instruments and their missing players is reflected in the equally strong contrast between the presence and absence of music.

In "Norman’s music" the viewer looks through a shop window at an array of various guitars, brass instruments and drums. The implied depth of the corner window turns into a flat distortion of the display. Saturated Primary colors set the tone of the painting: the deep blue storefront frames the yellow brass instruments, which are presented on red cloth. The green background highlights the hanging guitars, which vary in form and color. Although the work is in fact a still life, Romeril's rough and dynamic brushstrokes turn the instruments into living objects. A certain vibrancy erupts from the objects as if they are simply waiting to be played again and thus turning into a visual placeholder for the music.

Danny Romeril’s paintings often have thick layers of paint that create an almost three-dimensional effect and contrast the rather flat depictions of the motifs. Especially the use of paper and pieces of canvas, among other things, which are sometimes applied by Romeril to the canvas as collage, creates layers and contours that break up the two-dimensional depictions. In "Original hard shell case" chunky color stripes run in the background, which gives the painting a rough structure. Bold contours separate the guitar case from the pastose surface. Not light and shadow, but color indicates the highlights and depths of the motifs. Fast and intuitive brushstrokes make up the shapes and forms of the objects and give them a sense of restlessness.

After painting figures and musicians, a music store closed during the lockdown has become an inspiring approach to the transition to still life painting. The four ink drawings of the exhibition document Romeril's work with the genre. Stacked, hanging, leaning and standing - Romeril's instruments seem to have a life of their own. Whether flute, harp or accordion, the ink drawings with their combination of different objects interacting with each other have become a key element in Danny Romeril's work.

For his exhibition "Music shop music" Danny Romeril invites us to a somewhat paradoxical music shop that is full of music and at the same time there is none. The eerie scene of "Window display Reflected city" shows five instruments that are almost forgotten in the music store window. The street and the full moon are reflected in the window showing life outside of the shop, while the instruments look outside almost longingly to be a part of it. Through the use of collage, Danny Romeril creates an inner and outer world in the picture: the window frame and the moon reflection form a transparent barrier to the musical instruments, which as a result are moved further into the painting. They are trapped behind the window and become silent, unnoticed observes of the life outside.

Danny Romeril's depiction of musical instruments captures the current atmosphere. The instruments, which eagerly want to be played, remain in suspension, are silenced and in a moment of unclear stagnation. The liveliness of the color and the dynamic brushstrokes contain an underlining restlessness to continue or to move forward and in some way play the music that cannot be heard.

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