From a distance, the large powerful images look like skulls, sinister faces, or flowing landscapes, all in black and white, with sweeping brushstrokes and curving forms flowing through the paintings along with refracted shapes and images. Approach closer and you see that the overall picture is composed of many other things including fragmented hands and heads which together join up to form the composition, as the artist Tom French seeks to explore the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious and the philosophy Dualism that has different meanings, on the one hand suggesting that the mind and the brain see things differently, with the mind being linked to consciousness and the brain to intellect and on the other recognising an ongoing conflict between opposites, in particular between good and bad such as in Jekyll and Hyde and Ying and Yang. Thus close up, French’s compositions often contain snapshots of beautiful young men and women enjoying life, but together they form a dark image that is ugly and threatening, using the opposite colours of black and white and, in many works, symmetry which is not quite symmetrical and has references to Rorschach’s psychometric tests.
“Each scene is a snapshot of a story, with a dynamic between the characters working on various levels, which ties into the bigger picture; there’s much more to these images than illusion alone.” (Tom French)
Established by two young artists, The Unit London was founded in 2013 with a pop-up gallery in Chiswick with the aim of breaking down boundaries, barriers and elitism in the art world and making available for everyone whether they be collectors, enthusiasts, passers-by, students, designers or artists and, in line with this, the gallery is open 7 days a week in the creative area of Wardour Street in Soho in a relatively modern street-level and basement gallery space.