Vitalistic Fantasies

Venue: College Street Gallery

Exhibition: Vitalistic Fantasies

Iain Andrews | Amanda Ansell | Karl Bielik | Day Bowman | Julian Brown | Deb Covell | Lucy Cox | Gordon Dalton | Pen Dalton | Natalie Dowse | Fiona Eastwood | Geraint Evans | Susan Gunn | Suzanne Holtom | Barbara Howey | Phil Illingworth | Bryan Lavelle | Paula MacArthur | Enzo Marra | Nicholas Middleton | Stephen Newton | Joe Packer | Stephen Palmer | Ruth Philo | Narbi Price | Freya Purdue | James Quin | Molly Thomson | Judith Tucker |  Joanna Whittle | Sean Williams

Dates: 3/10/20 – 31/10/20

The title of this exhibition is taken from the introduction of Isabelle Graw’s 2018 book, The Love of Painting in which she argues that aliveness of paintings is created not only through the specific ways in which painters personalise their paintings by the traces of activity on the resulting work, but also through the projections of the viewer onto the painting. She writes-

“One key reason I call these fantasies “vitalistic” is because they imaginatively assume qualities of living beings such as subjectivity, liveliness, and animation for dead material. In a vitalistic fantasy, human attributes – like self-command, will, and energy – are projected onto lifeless material”

The resulting record of the painter’s activity, however energetic or quiet, is suggestive of the artist themselves, the viewer is compelled to project an imagined personality onto the work.

When describing their working process painters often talk about paintings ‘painting themselves’ or ‘leading the way’ in the same way that novelists describe their characters as writing their own narrative. As a work develops its personality evolves and the painter intuitively follows.

Members of Contemporary British Painting come together at the College Street Gallery in Swansea as part of the Beep Painting Biennial in an attempt to bring a visual conversation to Graw’s ideas and consider how her argument resonates within their own individual practices.

These painters present us with images onto which we project ourselves, they are storytellers, colourists, mark makers, fantasists and so are we.

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition with an essay by Dr. Catrin Webster

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