BlogCommentaryPresent : Past – New Paintings by Dave Tweedy

Present : Past – New Paintings by Dave Tweedy


Holy Biscuit is pleased to host Present : Past, the first major solo exhibition of new paintings by Newcastle-based artist Dave Tweedy since he graduated from Newcastle University, and a major exhibition in The Holy Biscuit 2017 gallery programme.

Tweedy’s large-scale oil paintings combine autobiographical references with responses to historic and current events from which he constructs imagery that combines abstraction and realism. At a time when oil painting might be viewed by some as unimportant or superfluous in relation to personal and world events, Tweedy creates works that are contemporary and political. One was painted as the events it references were happening in the Unites States and this exhibition is absolutely up to date with new works responding to the 2016 US Presidential election result.

Tweedy states:

“The work examines memory, disguise, transformation, ritual and revelation and uses imagery from the media and other printed sources including John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Catholicism, Donald and Melania Trump, 1960s’ TV cartoons, pop culture and film. In the light of current political events, my theme has become particularly topical and relevant.  I examine controlling hierarchies and culture of elites, and use historical and contemporary iconic images which are well known within western culture. Images are often abstracted, with base source still evident. These visual clues invite the audience to join the significance and experience together in different ways. This democratises the relationship between viewer and work and refers to political control and the challenging of power.”

Dave working on ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’ (2017) in his studio at The NewBridge Project

Dave Tweedy’s exhibition gives Holy Biscuit the opportunity to support an important regional artist at a point in his career when he is consolidating and developing his body of work and reputation. His painting is politically current, and borne out of the artist’s ethos of concern and connection with humanity and the human condition, often governed and manipulated by power elites.

As an arts organisation operating on the intersection of contemporary art, theology and community activism, our diverse programme examines and wrestles with faith along with other social, political and cultural strands and themes. Christianity has, from its inception, rejected the notion of the spiritual as separate or distinct from the material and political, and this body of work invites us to engage with the deep connections between human existence, identity and the political order. Much of Tweedy’s work invites us to wrestle with the allure and comfort of nostalgia and the very real dangers that it poses for our lives – both individual and corporate.  In his book The Prophetic Imagination, Old Testament theologian Walter Brueggemann  talks about the importance of imagination, creative practice and ‘the prophetic’ as enabling a looking back at history to then challenge the dominant narratives of the the present:

“And if the task of prophecy is to empower people to engage in history, then it means evoking cries that expect answers, learning to address them where they will be taken seriously, and ceasing to look to the numbed and dull empire that never intended to answer in the first place.”

We hope the work this show will encourage you to engage in a conversation and personal response about the importance of politics and history for the shaping not just of the contemporary global order but also for our own lives, our own identities, our stories and even our spirituality.

Present : Past runs 11th March – 5 May 2017; Discussion Evening: 18 April 6 – 7:30pm. (Closed Easter Weekend & Saturday 29 April). The exhibition was supported using public funding from Arts Council England.


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