London Paint Club

Five artists breathe new life into classical painting techniques, merging past and present in a captivating display. From Luna Sue Huang’s vibrant brushstrokes to CW Landon’s boundary-pushing abstract creations, Thomas Gillant’s unique scraping technique, Daniel Arteaga’s fusion of photography and painting, and Stephen Whittaker’s harmonious blend of abstraction and figuration – this show explores the evolution of painting. 

In the heart of Mayfair at JC Gallery, a unique exhibition unfolded—Roots of Day: Dying on the Vine, featuring five distinct artists: Steven Whittaker, Thomas Gillant, Daniel Arteaga, CW Landon, and Luna Sue Huang. As I explored the space, the undeniable dynamism of the show struck me. The exhibition offered more than just a panorama of contemporary painting; it was a discourse on the evolution of the medium, its transformations, and its persistent echoes in our contemporary life.

Each artist seemed to engage with painting as a versatile language, hearkening back to distinctive epochs in art history, while adding their unique spin. Luna Sue Huang, for example, offered a vibrant nod to the impressionistic, fauvist movements. Her work, a riot of bright colours and loose brushstrokes, celebrated the familiar language of nature and the human figure, a tableau reminiscent of Gauguin’s masterpieces.

In contrast, CW Landon pushed the boundaries of abstract painting. His work, an amalgamation of maquette, collage, and diverse painting techniques such as spray painting and stencilling, echoed the genre of mechanical constructivism. His abstraction was no mere chaos—it was a designed, meticulously constructed landscape of colours and shapes. Similarly, Thomas Gillant’s pieces, characterised by a distinct scraping technique, offered another testament to the range of painting.

Daniel Arteaga’s work intrigued me. He used the CMYK printing process to recreate photographic experiences onto canvas, interpreting them through layers of spray paint. This iterative process of deconstruction and reconstruction of images melded the languages of photography, printmaking, digital media, and painting into a fascinating narrative.

Stephen Whittaker’s pieces seemed abstract at first glance, but upon closer inspection, I could discern subtle figurative gestures. His composition recalled grand Renaissance or Baroque landscapes, but his use of colours and scale abstracted these impressions into something entirely contemporary.

The true genius of the exhibition lay in the sensory experience the gallery offered. They covered the floor with live grass—an unexpected and ingenious installation—creating a distinctive boundary between the realm above and below the ground. The grass carried a distinct smell, adding a touch of humidity to the air, which contributed to a unique, wholesome atmosphere. It transformed the gallery space into a communal park, an oasis away from everyday life, where each painting was a window into a unique world.

As the exhibition progressed, the once vibrant, energetic grass slowly died, mirroring the lifecycle of materials taken out of their environment. The grass served as a potent metaphor for the fleeting nature of life and the cyclical existence of art forms. The transformation was reminiscent of the evolution of painting, each period vibrant and full of life before being gradually replaced by another. Yet, like the grass in the gallery, each phase left an indelible impact.

Roots of Day: Dying on the Vine was not merely an exhibition—it was a journey through time, a dialogue between past and present, an exploration of the languages of painting, and a testament to its everlasting relevance in the contemporary artistic scene.

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