Launch Pad: About Painting

20 June 2014 — 29 June 2014

Castlefield Gallery is pleased to present its next Launch Pad exhibition, About Painting, curated by Lisa Denyer. The exhibition was selected through open submission by a panel including Stephen Snoddy, Director of New Art Gallery Walsall, and Castlefield Gallery’s Interim Programme Manager Matthew Pendergast.

Artists: Claudia Böse, Louisa Chambers, Lisa Denyer, Terry Greene, Matthew Macaulay, David Manley, Andy Parkinson, Anne Parkinson.

About Painting brings together eight painters from across the UK who employ a breadth of approaches to contemporary abstract painting. Their work ranges from the highly structured and pre-planned to more spontaneous painterly language.

Abstract painting is by its nature ambiguous and open to interpretation. It doesn’t pertain to any single subject, and has the capacity to represent a multitude of thoughts, feelings and visual stimuli. It enables an engagement with the fundamental nature of the world through perceptive means. Dialogues, synergies and tensions are created, and polarities of colour explored on a given surface, often evoking a sense of recognition. Every experience a painter has informs the making of a painting, just as the viewer can’t separate their subjectivity from their interpretation.

Painting continues to be relevant because it is not convoluted or arbitrary, but honest and immediate. The process of painting is reliant upon the discovery of new possibilities. It involves being responsive, exploring the properties of the medium to its full potential and allowing investigation into the multi-faceted characteristics of paint.

About Painting invites the viewer to consider the decision making process involved in a painting, as a series of significant events that align one way or another to form the compositional whole.

Evidence of a systems based process can be found in Andy Parkinson’s paintings. The checkered overlay has been adhered to a florescent ground, all but blocking out the underlying hues. However on closer inspection, vague forms and subtle colours come through from underneath. The optical illusion brought about by the contrasting black and white checkering creates the appearance of more colour in turn.

A similar repetition of motif is utilized in the work of Louisa Chambers. There is a sense of fairground and fantastical landscape in her vividly coloured paintings; it’s not surprising that contemplation of alternative universes has been instrumental in the making of these pieces. Imagery in the work references castles, monarchy, and the futuristic. These paintings bring to mind a kind of strange, robotic fairy tale.

David Manley’s intimate paintings are representative of a relatively new way of working in contemporary abstraction. Their miniature scale and clean simplicity invites closer inspection. They are the result of investigations into fundamental form and restricted colour, inspired by place, structure and an architectural interest, with particular reference to the proscenium arch.

The works on display by Anne Parkinson centre around pre-planned systems, and experiments in the properties of colour. There is an emphasis on polarity of hue, allowing a visual complexity to manifest when pared with simple mark making. The paintings were made to be shown together, so although each component is small in scale, the repetition in their display creates an impactful and responsive visual series.

The paintings of Claudia Böse show careful thought and process-led considerations around form in her exploration of the medium. Böse focusses on contained areas created by framing devices, inspired by the domestic and every day life; screens, table mats, and windows amongst others. These paintings incorporate influences from place, history and nature, creating a new interpretation of these ideas through an abstract language.

Matthew Macaulay’s playful use of paint is reflected in the titles of his work. An exciting energy is conveyed in his gestural brush stokes and mark making. Macaulay’s work is simple whilst being nuanced. His paintings celebrate colour and imbue a sense of impact, drawing on influences from art history, and reflecting his own experiences to produce something new and joyful.

Experimentation and risk taking are evident in the work of Terry Greene. However, careful consideration of form and structure is equally apparent. Traces of the painting process reveal themselves in the multitude of layers that can be discerned in different aspects of these pieces. Investigation, and a full exploration of the medium have occurred here before arriving at a tension that feels right.

Lisa Denyer’s paintings show a strong interest in materiality. The found plywood she chooses as support adds compositional details in the grain and irregularities of the surface. Simple shape, excavation and subsequent covering of colour are prevalent themes in Denyer’s work. Residual landscape associations are apparent, as well as references to architectural structures and cosmological depiction.

Launch Pads are short exhibitions or performances that sit in-between Castlefield Gallery’s main exhibition programme providing artists, writers and independent curators with the opportunity to use the gallery as a test bed for the production, display and consumption of contemporary art. Launch Pads feature emerging talent selected from CG Associate members’ submissions (three times a year) and from the MA and BA art courses at Manchester School of Art (once a year). For more information about the CG Associates visit the members page.

Preview: Thursday 19 June 2014 6-9pm – All welcome

Castlefield Gallery’s Launch Pad programme is supported by Soup Kitchen, Manchester.

Soup Kitchen Logo 2013