15-16 October 2011
The title, Nightwatch references Sarah Walters' 2006 novel, The Night Watch, which is set in the 1940s. Michon has always been drawn to and collected images from the 1940s. In Nightwatch, film noir, a personal engagement with her family's wartime history, MiuMiu's recent collection and the whole recent patronising nonsense of recessionary 'make do and mend' are meshed together to create the psychological space from which these paintings are drawn. Michon constantly fights against imposing any kind of pre-conceived narrative onto the work, so there is a tension there in trying to loosen the original intention, working more from the painterly concerns within the image and trying to put that intention/interest into the realm of a back-story.
'In working with these images I became more and more focused on the chiaroscuro elements in the type of black and white photography from this era so that rather than trying to replay some kind of retromania pastiche I started to get involved with the purely plastic concerns of light and shade, muting the palette and making up the colours which were absent from the original images. Also with this method of working there is that wonderful thing that if it all goes wrong you can just paint over it all again especially with the accommodating Paynes Grey which not only covers a multitude of sins but soaks up and incorporates the previous mistakes into a wonderful smeary darkness from which a new painting can emerge'.
Alex Michon, August 2011