12 November – 12 December 2015
Curated by Mark Wright and Stuart Mackenzie in collaboration with &Model, this exhibition of contemporary painting is a follow-up to our 2013 project, Dirty Pop, also curated by Mark Wright. An illustrated catalogue with text by Derek Horton will be published to accompany the exhibition.
The artists in Surface To Air, different though they are, all share a focused engagement with the craft and material values relevant to painting. Materiality and the way it is articulated through surface and the physical handling of paint is central to an understanding of each artist’s practice.
In the newly published book Materiality (Whitechapel/MIT, 2015) Petra Lange-Berndt has written that: ‘Materiality, is one of the most contested concepts in contemporary art and is often sidelined in critical academic writing.’ However, writing about painting both within an analytic and continental philosophical tradition, Wollheim, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Crowther, Elkins, Deleuze and Isabelle Graw among many, have often addressed the significance of materiality in all its complexity from the perspectives of both artist and viewer. Foucault argued in The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969) that: ‘Painting is a discursive practice that is embodied in techniques and effect.’ These techniques and effects present themselves as the rudiments of all painted images: marks, lines, traces, edges and outlines.
The paintings in Surface To Air use diverse imagery to address aspects of representation, including depiction and realism as well as abstraction. They have evolved not only through specific working processes but from diverse influences and source material. This includes direct observational drawing and the use of mediated images as the starting point for painting and reflects an awareness of legacies and traditions from Minimalism to Neo-Romanticism.
From a curatorial perspective, the selection and juxtaposition of such diverse paintings highlights their autographic nature in the range and diversity of their technique and imagery, and one is made aware of how their particular concerns are articulated through form. It defines the implicit representational aspects of the works and also alludes to temporality, either demonstrated through the deployment of imagery or embodied within the physical production of the paintings.