Additives is an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Tom Worsfold, his second with the gallery.
Painted in lurid and saturated colours, the canvases mark a move away from the everyday towards the fantastical. They embrace imaginary cartoon logic and a playful relationship to depicting the self.
The paintings are populated by a collection of odd and unsettling lifeforms: demonic kidneys spray toxic piss; ancient flies are ensnared by phallic flytraps; a minotaur stretches their hamstrings; a sad meteorite plops down to earth. Strange and comical creatures stand in for patterns of thought that mediate our relationship with the world.
These works explore how our sense of self is affected by obsessions, dreams and inner saboteurs. The title of the exhibition refers to current trends for ingredients to transform and improve – whether that be technology, food or cosmetics. The paintings and drawings exist between a humorous reflection and a morbid curiosity about such practices.
The paintings continue the artist’s interest in the painting as a gathering ground. Using a surrealist automatic process, the paintings arrive through gradual accumulation without an overarching design. All works begin with a human body part such as hands, feet, or legs which are then embellished by a nervous system of kaleidoscopic forms and colour. The body is a recurring theme used to express queer experiences and investigate its currency within queer communities. Throughout the exhibition, the works explore the twin practices of image-making and self-construction.
The pencil drawings begin as conventional self-portraits which are transformed through imaginary encounters with domestic objects such as bent spoons and smartphones. These existential portraits stare at themselves and into thin air – they are expressions of angst and longing. In the drawings the body is treated as a strange and unknowable landscape. It exists in a world of social media that promotes total control of oneself through nutrition, wellness trends and biohacking, ultimately leading to a doomed quest for perfection.
Tom Worsfold (b. 1990, Cambridge) is an artist and tutor living and working in London. Worsfold previously studied at the Royal Academy Schools and the Slade School of Fine Art.
Previous solo exhibitions include Good Fats, Ginny on Frederick, London (2022), The Sleepers, Block 336, London (2020), Models, Castor, London (2018), Felt Tip, Recent Activity, Birmingham (2017) and Apparition, Carlos/Ishikawa, London (2017).