Stand close and breathe me in – the power of intimate scaled paintings
Preview Saturday 4 June 7pm
Exhibition continues until 16 July
Gallery open Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 9pm
Julian Brown | Ruth Calland | Andrew Crane | Rosalind Faram | Alex Hanna | David Lock | David Manley | Enzo Marra | Alison Pilkington | Geraldine Swayne | Katie Trick | Rhys Trussler | Grant Watson | Lily-Ella Westacott | Dylan Williams
The exhibition will be a celebration and exploration of the concept of small-scale imagery. The way that they can draw you in, force you to have a more intimate relationship with the play of pigments on their surface. Allowing you to spend more time attempting to decipher the artist’s aims and your own personal reaction to what you are being presented with. Including a wide variety of creative approaches, from the abstract to the figurative, the direct to the slower fought over, textural or smooth flat, the small demands to be interacted with in a close eyed manner.
Curated by Enzo Marra
About the Artists
I am certainly interested in how far you can push things visually. I like the idea of a ‘knackered geometry’ and of how things have become tired. It’s almost like a fatigue with modern aesthetic, thinking about all the conventions we subscribe to and the long history of geometric painting. I like the idea of it all falling away, being more playful, spontaneous, or less resolved. Vulnerability also plays an important part – I definitely want to show some vulnerability, I think it’s an important part of both identity and creativity.
My painting was made as a tribute to Lillian Randolph, the vivacious American actress who played the maid in many films (including It’s a Wonderful Life) one of the few roles open to black actresses at the time. She went on to voice the maid Mammy Two Shoes in Tom and Jerry, my favourite cartoon reruns as a child. The character was only shown from the neck down, headless but with a big voice, always chiding and hollering at ‘Thomas’ who was terrified of her. Lillian Randolph and the show were both criticised for perpetuating a stereotype of black women, although in fact her name never appeared in the credits. Eventually in 1952 the show fired her and employed a white actress to voice the role, who did get credited. These unjust and inequitable levels of invisibility have not erased her or the character from my mind. She was a thrilling part of the early episodes. It was an interesting process trying to paint a cartoon, with the flat colours and a particular kind of blue that Hanna-Barbera used. I wanted to give her more status without denying the injustice, so I added the name of the legendary Medusa – also treated unfairly and whose head was also cut off – having a good time flying around on the broom that was often used to shoo Tom away.
There is rarely an idea at the start of the painting. The form seems to emerge by looking. More often than not, there’s a lot painting out to do, to get rid of stuff. And when it’s finished, you know – because it doesn’t look like you did it.
‘Wish Come True’ is one of an ongoing series of small-scale works on paper that began in 2020 and marks the beginning of a new and consistent visual language for me. I work quickly on these, using wax crayon, acrylic gouache and pencil; collaging and sticking, scribbling and chucking – focusing on the feeling and the surface space and letting the original intention slowly slide away. What’s left?
The painting ‘Used Pill Packs’, was painted using industrial paints and has stronger, materialistic and objectified properties than other works I have produced. The subject is disposable plastic packaging used for pills. these were painted from observation.
David Lock’s paintings explore men and masculinities in a process of becoming. The paintings utilise a collagist approach. In the process of creating his ‘Misfit’ paintings, he makes collages culled from advertisements and imagery from magazines and the internet.
In their making, the collages and subsequent paintings have a performative quality. In this regard, he is seeking to undermine the original source material, disrupting its meaning in order to create a new experimental man, akin to Frankenstein’s monster.
Lock is investigating how to create a multitude of subject positions, upon which signifiers are free to float, shifting identification from one fragment to another. In this sense the paintings resist a single reading or viewpoint, and instead any reading is unmoored, fluid and contingent.
A sense of vulnerability is reinforced by the paintings being composed from collaged elements.
His motivations for the use of the male, exposes an underlying uncertainty about the male’s status in contemporary culture and the role he should fulfill within it.
Lock graduated with an MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, following a first class BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the University of Reading.
He was a Prizewinner in the ‘Creekside Open 2019’, selected by Sacha Craddock.
In 2018, Lock’s painting ‘El Muniria’ was selected for the ‘John Moores Painting Prize’, after which, the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool purchased the painting for its permanent collection.
He is a recipient of the prestigious Abbey award at the British School at Rome in 2012
Recent exhibitions include ‘Burra and Friends’ at Rye Art Gallery, ‘Summer (Winter) Exhibition’ 2020 at Royal Academy of Arts, London, ‘between parts undone – Paintings by David Lock, Gavin Maughfling and J. A Nicholls’ at studio1.1, London, ‘Telescope’, at Hastings Contemporary, East Sussex, ‘Rules of Freedom’, at Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, ‘Creative Rage’ at the Potteries and Art Gallery, Stoke and a solo show ‘Fragmented Eros’ at studio1.1, London in 2018.
He lives and works in London.
In Vasko Popa’s Earth Erect collection there is a trilogy entitled Pilgrimage that names the three poems after Serbian monasteries famous for their frescoes. Text is taken from each. Popa (1922-1991) was the leading Serbian poet of his day. My paintings are pure inventions that come from my day dreaming about these texts. Each one is painted on worn out kitchen place mats, 22 x 30 cms.
Enzo Marra’s works have slowly but surely developed into mostly geometric, essential immediate representations. The real life influences depicted via a growing immediate and direct vocabulary of emblems and symbols.
The reduced forms and utilised range of pigments, the concentration that is recorded on each support, the obsessed symbols of the crow and the hole. Each reinterpreted in different arrangements to alter their presence and meaning. Becoming very different creatures, objects and events, complete or in parts, lonesome or sharing painted space.
His works have been exhibited at the John Moores painting prize in 2012 and 2016.
Alison Pilkington’s practice taps into an inner world of personal experiences and memory to conjure up strange and unsettling worlds where all is not entirely at ease. Humour and the absurd abound in strange unsettling landscapes, where bizarre figures are a recurring motif. Her work frequently draws on a variety of eclectic influences from ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture – from the classical painting of the 17th century western traditions to the writing of Stephen King and Ivor Cutler.
“I try to explore how familiar yet comic images have the potential to disturb or disorientate or perhaps be uncanny. The quality of paint handling, although seemingly casual, is a result of repeated attempts at getting something ‘right’. In my material research I undertake sustained periods of drawing and writing, some of which develops into artist books and other types of published works. This material research is then used as inspiration for my paintings and other sculptural objects.”
Alison Pilkington completed a practice led PhD in painting at National College Art and Design Dublin awarded in 2015.
In 2012 she was awarded a British Institution Award for painting at the Royal Academy Summer Show London, She has been selected for the Marmite Painting Prize, London 2012 and 2016. She was shortlisted for the Kurt Beers 100 Painters of Tomorrow publication (2013). She was 3rd prizewinner at the Artslant International Jurors Award in Dec 2013.
Recent exhibitions include: AntiFreeze, Online Curated by Cassandra Bowes @the-arts-editor (2020)To Paint the Gloom Itself, Terrace Gallery London, 2020, Will We Remember Volcanoes at Westminster Art Library London, Strangelands at Collyer Bristow Gallery London, Contemporary British Painting, touring exhibition to 4 Museums in China. Sept 2017 to January 2018,June 2018 How We Roam, The Dock Carrick on Shannon, Leitrim
Ashford Gallery RHA, Dublin, September 2018.
She lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.
I am a painter and experimental musician. My paintings aren’t deliberately sensationalist, but my work has a filmic atmosphere and dreamlike quality, with uneasy undertones.
I paint with enamels because of the luminous quality of its colour and because of its viscosity, which suits my speed of application. The often-diminutive size of my paintings invites a close physical relationship between subject and viewer, which creates a private and slightly transgressive feeling, like looking through a keyhole. This close proximity also reflects the private psychology I am investigating in my sitters.
Psychedelic Granny is an affectionate portrait of an ageing and stylish lady who looks like she has a large and exotic back-story.
My paintings sit between imagination and observation, pairing places with sound and colour. Finding ways to give language to the landscape around me. A landscape that at times feels close, but can also feel quiet and hidden. Celebrating the pure joy of sitting, Looking, Listening. When everything about a moment feels fleeting, the landscape of a place is the only concrete thing that will always be there, and the hidden stories told. I’m interested in the way in which the speed of working, the speed of mark making affects the sound of a painting. I want lines drawn to be joyful and songlike, confident and present. I don’t want to be precious about the subjects that creep in and out, letting what’s found within the process be integral to the outcome. At times I feel like I’m playing the role of a storyteller but the painting dictates which way the story goes, and I like that, as I want to be surprised by what reveals itself – I want the painting to look back at me and feel unfamiliar and unexpected, but also familiar and intimate.
My practice is primarily painterly and draws on folklore, mythology and the horror genre. It explores the carnivalesque, the grotesque and “otherness” or peculiarity as a lens through which the world is observed. Ideas of pastoral menace, the spectre of herd mentalities and subversion of norms all feed into the work to create a strange mirror reflecting a world in which humans haunt themselves.
The characters portrayed in my paintings stem from personal narratives and my own sense of queerness and otherness. Characters appear to interact albeit for ambiguous motivations, but their disguises also isolate them from one another. In this world, images are inside images and memory mixes with fantasy to create the illusion of occupation, or life while perpetuating ghoulish isolation.
I’m basically an arranger of shapes and colours in space. I have a sensory engagement with paint and in many ways I start painting an image just as an excuse to put the stuff down. I like to reorder form through mark-making and in the doing of the painting I hope to discover some sort of meaning. The main thing I do when I’m painting is to pretend that I am not painting at all and convince myself that I’m just drawing, drawing with paint. It helps a lot, especially when there are hard problems to solve, allowing me to have a greater sense of freedom and a ‘can do’ attitude.
‘No haircut’ is a painting completed at the height of the pandemic when hairdressers had been closed for a very long time.
There is a sacred geometry that reveals itself in a universal language that is far beyond the understanding of the human condition. An energy that leaves us with endless questions. It is that unanswerable question that my work is in constant study of, trying to find my own understanding of the unfathomable energies of the earth. My works are nothing other than an individual’s exploration into the phenomena that is the ancient earths mysteries. These paintings are an exploration into the healing powers of water. Water has been recognized for its spiritual and therapeutic properties for centuries. These paintings represent my own experiences and self-exposure to the water, studying the physical and mental affect is has on the body and mind.
My work revolves around a fixation with hills and mountains and a worship of four legged animals and trying to uncover the hidden voices and spirit of the landscape and searching for portals through time and under land spaces in local hills and mountains. This is underpinned by a
regular practice of walking and drawing constantly searching for an economy of means through mark and image making