Tendencies in Painting
10 August - 10 September, 2022
For this summer Artist Members online group exhibition Tendencies in Painting, I wanted to draw comparisons between similar ideas being explored by the 28 international emerging artists who all focus on painting in different ways. I wondered what I could find that would bring them all together, what ideas in painting are currently being pursued, and how they communicate issues surrounding these thoughts today.
One of the ideas that stuck out to me was the use of the word, nature. When reading about the works of abstract painters Jane Wheeler and Anna Moser, both artists referenced nature in a literal and metaphorical sense. Wheeler explored specific landscapes of Scotland to examine a sense of place and history through abstraction, while Moser referenced the horizon as a natural phenomenon that the artist amplifies through abstract colour exploration. In very different ways, both artists use colour and other inherent physical qualities of paint such as the application in density to alter the opaqueness and transparency of colour to provoke different energetic qualities.
I also started thinking about nature in reference to, the nature of things and the ideas of laws of nature and human nature as a concept in which we are all interconnected with certain common, universal behavioural traits. One thing that certainly makes us human is our capacity for imagination. Artists in the exhibition explore how to depict imagination in various ways. Jessica Slater explores the mind by incorporating natural patterns found in botanics to mirror neurological pathways found in our brains. Tweety Shiwen Wang depicts dusk, the specific time between day and night to amplify the in-betweenness of our state of consciousness of the past and present. Noah Mashiak reflects on the free associations of the mind, and ruminations of previous personal experiences held in his memory along with imagery of the natural world to tie together subliminal thoughts to the physicality of his abstract paintings. Una d’Aragona moulds paint in semi-abstract, figurative forms to amplify the ephemeral nature of memory.
Should artists look to painting to provide answers, assign meaning and help us to understand our natural inclinations, tendencies and psyche? How do we define who we are today? Is it through our culture, our family, our friends or our backgrounds? James Tebbutt references popular cultural motifs and imagery such as familiar cartoon characters, comic book phrases and stylised brush strokes and gestures, not as necessarily a celebration or rejection of pop culture but just as a natural reaction to the over abundance of visual stimuli in our daily lives. This stream of consciousness of imagery into our imaginative outpouring begs to question the impact of cultural motifs that we end up using to build our personal identities.
Long Huang questions his unknowningess and subconscious choices. Directed by instinct, Huang examines what he is naturally drawn to and embeds his personal desire for presence as a way to fix in place the fleeting moments of reality. Julien Rubat creates his paintings through purely formal inclinations of line, colour and composition in strikingly intricate patterns that could be reminiscent of a web or net that could be found in nature.
Artists Ioana Baltan and Sebastian Dubois create works that confront the viewer and force us to face the challenging moral questions and pressing issues of our times around homelessness, poverty, mental health and violence. Whereas artists Bo Lanyon, Mengqui Li and Ekaterina Dimieva use painting as a way to express their desire and hope for interconnection, something that binds human beings together, bringing optimism into the equation for confronting challenging thoughts and realities.
Sylvia Radford, Mark Metcalfe, and Laura Hope look to the past, research history and remind us of mankind through archetypes, stories, personal family narratives and inheritance to look for answers to our shaky, unpredictable futures. Seeking out people, examining human behaviour and objects we place value on is another way that artists Shelby Seu, Laura Hope, Juliette Berkeley, and Nina Baxter find solutions to assign meaning in our daily lives and personal relationships. We hold on to physical objects and possessions for dear life, assigning meaning to physicality in order to secure us to the present and tangible surroundings. Our friends, family and close encounters with our social pod or community can enclose us in protection. Alexander Hollinshead and Yuiqao Guo try to find themselves in an unpredictable world, exploring identity through surreal dreamscapes and subconscious inclinations to create new alternatives for themselves.
Boundaries and definitions are fluid and ever changing. The instability of the free flowing world leaves us wondering who we really are and what our true purpose is. If everything can change, fall apart and disappear, should we look to build a hopeful alternative, confront our troubles bluntly and unapologetically, or do we subtly look to our familiar circles. Artist Robert van de Graaf seeks meditative and spiritual dimensions for his work in hopes of direction and faith. Artists John Heywood-Waddington and Parham Ghalamdar look to artistic traditions and personal history in their approach to painting, while Damien Cifelli and Barbara Bonfilio create an entirely new world and reality. From that point of view, by looking to the past, painting can also be a way to invent a completely new perspective in an alternative universe.
With all of the many questions that artists deal with today, painting is a way to explore answers in an ever imaginative way. The nature of painting is unique in the sense that it can be directly manipulated differently by each artist to express complex emotions, ideas, visual cues, stimuli and experiences. Each artist in this exhibition expresses themselves differently within the medium of painting, and I find it fascinating that everyone has a unique approach and natural tendency to create their own type of work.
Kelly Foster, Founder of London Paint Club
Born 1956 in London UK | Lives and works in Cornwall, UK
Born 1993 in Targoviste, Romania | Lives and works in London, UK
Born 1992 | Lives and works in London, UK
Born 1979 in Paris, France | Lives and works in London, UK
Born 1991 in Edinburgh, Scotland | Lives and works in London, UK
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria | Lives and works in Auckland, NZ
Born 1994 in Tehran, Iran | Lives and works in Manchester, UK
Robert van de Graaf
Born 1983 | Lives and works in The Hague, Netherlands
Born 1992 | Lives and works in London, UK
Born 1987 in China | Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Born 1999 | Lives and works in London
Lives and works in London, UK
Born 1989 in New York, USA | Lives and Works in West Sussex, UK
Born 1964 in Bangkok, Thailand | Lives and works in Chichester, UK
Born 1980 | Lives and works in France
Born 1989 in Canada | Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Born 1985 | Lives and works in Cornwall, UK.
Born 1980 | Lives and works in Northampton, UK
Tweety Shiwen Wang
Born 1995 in Shanghai, China | Lives and works in London, UK
Born 1950 in Norwich UK | Lives and works in Fife, Scotland