Riot over…

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(left: Liza Lee-Jowsey, right: Stuart Reid

I don’t often ‘cross the streams’ in this blog…some time back I decided it would only focus on painting rather than veer into other topics.  But although this isn’t especially about my painting it is about painting more generally.  Occasionally I dip my toes into the wider art world and – curation.  Actually I’m not entirely convinced that’s what I’m up to.  Curation for me is a far more nuanced and complex activity.  What I do, and what mostly happens in the art world generally nowadays, is selection.  We (and that includes virtually everyone out there) select a group of artists (that admittedly we have given some thought to their suitability to be shown together) and put on an exhibition.  And so it was here.

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John Rimmer

This group included artists from as far afield as London & the North East, Leicester, Lincoln & Nottingham.  The show I titled ‘A Riotous Assembly’ and it took place in Derby at the excellent Dance based Arts Centre Deda.  The brief intro says:

Letting go, running riot, it has to be admitted, is very liberating – and often a lot of fun.  Then of course comes a reckoning, a sense of order being re-established if not completely restored. A lot of abstract painting practice runs on such principles.  When you confront the blank sheet of paper or canvas it can be the best way of getting going…don’t agonise but dive in.  Put a bit of stick (brush, roller etc.) about and just see how it goes for a bit.  Luxuriate in the gloopy, resinous or wishy washy qualities of the paint, gorge yourself on the intensity of the hues, and delight in the chance elements of the collision of colour, form and facture that result.  Yes, it may be a tad messy but trusting your instincts is an exhilarating ride and what comes through often surprises you with a fresh take on what you thought you might want to achieve. A new direction or approach to image making and, if you’re lucky something new in your work.
In this riotous assembly though (and whisper it in terms of whats just been said) there may be far more considered initial moves than might be supposed from a first casual look.  For some of those present here neither want, nor one supposes could, let go with such abandon.  Their first marks are deliberated, even agonised over.  And those manoeuvres that follow are equally premeditated.  Its simply part of their artifice that to the viewer comes an initial sensation of liberation, an easy, relaxed and reckless pleasure in the pure act of painting.  And colour too can seem in some pictures to be be jostling and jockeying for position in random fashion when in truth there is a deal of experience at play, much of it hard-won over years of trial and error, with carefully controlled and thoughtful weighing up of what will ‘work’ with what to achieve a satisfactory and often thrilling outcome.  
Here then is a show of seven artists who run the gamut of what’s possible for painting now.  They span several generations and cover a fair bit of the country from the North East to London by way of parts of the East Midlands.  They share no common agenda and have only been connected here through an invitation from myself.  But there are connections and reflections aplenty if you look hard enough.  Enjoy!

 

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Lois Gardner Sabet

The show is now sadly over but as always its been hard work but really enjoyable.  My thanks go to all the artists for their participation and to Deda, and especially their departing Director (off to a new challenge) and Technical Manager Geoff Harcula as well as the rest of the staff team for their assistance.

And off it goes…

Halfscissors

This one is titled The Half-Scissors after the poem of the same name by Peter Redgrove.  And before anyone points it out the black ‘form’ does, I realise, look more like a pair…

But I love the snippet of quotation from the poem so thats it then.  And its the first of these new, text bound paintings to be going off to a show, courtesy of the excellent painter Gordon Dalton who curated it…

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Painted Thought

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Joker (Full Metal Jacket), Acrylic on Aluminium, 380 x 436 mm., 2014

It’s good to get confirmation of a show that you’ve been invited to be a part of.  Matthew Macaulay asked me some time back if I’d be interested in this one.  Now I’ve the details…Painted Thought will open Thursday 20th February at 6pm in Cardiff at the Queens Arcade in the city centre.  Hosted by Pluspace Coventry and curated by Matthew the show also features work from: Neil Clements, Gordon Dalton, Andrew Graves, Terry Greene, Rhianne Masters-Hopkins, Rachael Macarthur, Sarah McNulty, Phoebe Mitchell and Mircea Teleaga.  The introduction to the show reads:

The idea that painting must die out and be replaced by newer art forms is not the case. Painting as a discipline over the last twenty years appears to have taken a back seat, and it does not enjoy the widespread cultural attention that it enjoyed for hundreds of years. In this exhibition we offer up a group of painters that show how individual painters are deconstructing and reinventing what a painting is and what it can be.

The artists on show are all critical in the creation of their paintings, and their work reflects the growth of painting. These painters have recognized areas of activitiy not previously associated with it, and revealed new freedoms for the medium.

The change and diversification of the components of the paintings production and presentation show that painting today does not exist in a bubble and is developing. While some artists have maintained a link with traditional materials in their practice they have still been influenced by new technologies and art forms. The new forms are not conflicting, but together with painting, are parts of an expanded field.

Painted Thought continues a thread of Pluspace exhibitions, such as Without an Edge there is no Middle (2013), Form / Function (2013) and Meditations (2013), that examines contemporary painting.

Its great to be showing with a range of diverse and interesting artists, one or two of whom I know of and quite a few new to me.  It’s also very pleasing to be amongst quite a few young artists and seeing how they are picking up the baton of what painting can be nowadays.

I’ll be showing work from the Full Metal Jacket group of pictures…two of which are completed…and six of which I should be getting on with right now!