Mccarthyism – David Gledhill

dmytryk-on-stand-79x61cmsDavid Gledhill is an artist who produces fantastic works of art. In his recent work he embraces historical charged subjects, with the aim to create work based on the people that were written out of history.

The exhibition held at the Chester CASC gallery by David Gledhill, consists of a series of monochrome, photo-realist paintings that were created from historical photographs of the ‘House Un-American committee’ hearings in the 1940’s and 50’s. After WW2 paranoia spread through the US government and the wealthy classes, of impending communism. State workers were forced to sign oaths declaring their loyalty and the ‘House Un-american committee’ went across the USA interrogating anyone with even the slightest of left- wing beliefs.

His works appear to me, very emotive. Given the historical context, coupled with the human like scale of the paintings that envelop you as the viewer, alongside the sheer detail in which they were created meant for me that the effects of viewing this work is haunting. You can see in detail the worried expressions on these peoples faces, and it creates quite an empathetic environment. These paintings are of ordinary people, who stand accused of being politically affiliated with a party, whether they were or not is irrelevant, just being on trial for having certain beliefs is unfair persecution and a definite dark point in american history.

I really enjoyed looking at Davids work, its not every day that you can see an exhibition that is so politically charged and emotive but at the same time so technically skilled. I liked the way that all of the works were in the exact same style and display, allowing a naritive to run through them and having all of the pieces being relatable, so that as you go through the gallery the power lies in all of the work as a collective, not just one piece.

photograph from

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