In her first solo show at doggerfisher since 2001, Janice McNab exhibits a new series of paintings. For the last four years, McNab has been exploring the territory of the so-called ‘chocolate box painting’ and teasing at the connotations of what is commonly thought of as a pejorative term.
Chocolate-maker supremo, Richard Cadbury introduced the idea of putting pleasing landscapes on to his boxes of chocolates in the late 19th century. These pretty, sentimentalized scenes of thatched cottages and rural idylls were conceived of as pictorial incentives to indulge, and taste an enchanting way of life.
McNab takes the term, chocolate box painting and its supposed suggestion of bad taste, literally. She has used the plastic moulded trays found inside chocolate boxes as the starting point for her paintings. Unassuming plastic, mass-produced packaging melds into strange landscapes, where the perspective shifts and the ambiguous dips and troughs and peaks masquerade as mountainous terrain, sometimes suggesting a lunar landscape with perilous ravines and moody lakes. A palette of deep mauve, pinks and petrol blues give a sense of artificiality, yet the paintings hover between being renditions of actual landscapes. McNab in recent months has been drawing on images of the west coast of Scotland. In some works, a sense of ‘real nature’ is further suggested by small figures who stand in clusters, their minuteness giving the rolling landscape an even greater monumentality and vastness.
Janice McNab (born Aberfeldy, Scotland) studied at Glasgow School of Art, Hunter College for the Arts, New York and Edinburgh College of Art. In 2000, McNab was a recipient of the Scottish Arts Council Amsterdam residency. Recent exhibitions include Viewpoint, Grusenmeyer Art Gallery, Gent; The Chocolate Box Paintings, The Changing Room, Stirling; Janice McNab, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh. Recent group shows include Mise en Scene, Showroom Mama, Rotterdam; Recent Acquisitions of Painting, The Essl Collection, Vienna; Gastrophoria, The Pump House Gallery, London: Still-life painting from the Collection, The Fleming Collection, London. EAST International, Norwich and De Werkelijkheid (Reality) De Vleeshal, Middleburg, The Netherlands. McNab is a co-curator at Artis den Bosch, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands and teaches at The Piet Zwart Institute for postgraduate studies and research, Rotterdam. The artist lives and works in Amsterdam.