Tom Worsfold is playing 3D chess, and none of the rest of us have even moved past checkers. His new show of brain-meltingly complex paintings is so full of weird clashes and alien geometry that the English painter must see things we just can’t.
It starts simply enough. A wall of black and white drawings finds men’s heads turning into meteors or soap dispensers, their foreheads growing horns. It’s surreal body horror in stark monochrome.
But then the paintings show up and the world collapses in on itself. There are hands and arms, bull’s heads and beating hearts; recognisable things. But solid lines give way to smudged ink, sharp colours to soft haze. There are penises and flowers, big gaping chasms and thick planes of colour, mushrooms and hair and bugs and teeth.
The whole thing has a 1970s sci fi animation vibe, like ‘Planete Sauvage’ but with copious amounts of extra violence and hallucinogenic energy. It’s erotic, aggressive, and it takes ages to unfold, for your eyes to make sense of what’s in front of you, but when it happens it’s like emerging from the gloom into total psychedelic clarity.
It’s impossible to imagine how he sees things this way, but you’re damn grateful he does.