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Toby Mott’s paintings – not dissimilar to religious icons – combine a debased, trash-punk aesthetic with the status symbols of the high fine arts. Mott uses superlative materials, such as gold and silver, in combination with some subverted high craft skills, lots of art historical awareness, and all signed off with the authenticity of the artist’s signature – although on close inspection we see that Mott’s signature is not hand written, but crudely stencilled.
Mott has appropriated this process, left out the boring forty years, and gone straight for a fabulous, status aware, wealthily successful, but compromised look. At its centre, as well as fun and mad beauty, Mott offers a mismatch (slippage, as art critics would say), between the capitalistic value status of his works, and their origins in disorder and rebellious imperfection – as seen in their lumpy edges, parodic signature, and fluorescent underpainting. Either that, or it’s a Tutankhamun’s tomb, in which the imperial explorer Mott enters to despoil it of all the treasures of a punk dynastic kingdom.