Wednesday 13 September 2017

PIY PaintLounge

PIY PaintLounge is at Sluice Biennial  London 2017
Arch 12 Bohemia Place, Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1DU

PIYPaintLounge: a salon exhibition, fundraiser and
series of conversations on contemporary painting.
Private View 3-9pm Saturday 30th September with opening talk at 4pm
PIY PaintLounge open 12-6pm Sunday 1st - Tuesday 3rd October

PIY PaintLounge is a collaborative project between paintbritain and PaintUnion which aims to bring as many painters as possible together to discuss and celebrate painting in all its many forms as part of the Sluice Biennial 2017 in Hackney.

We warmly extend an invitation to everyone, to come along to four days of exhibitions and scheduled talks with invited painters and art professionals about contemporary painting and painting practices. We are aiming to create an informal atmosphere whilst allowing plenty of room for conversations around contemporary painting, with work from the artist speakers included in a salon hang in our space. 
Everyone, artists and non-artists alike, are invited to ‘Paint It Yourself’ and donate a 20x20cm painting on paper or card. These works will be exhibited at PIY PaintLounge anonymously and sold for the benefit of Hospital Rooms charity.

PIY PaintLounge aims to create a dynamic, engaging and open event that welcomes everyone to drop in, hang out, view and chat about painting regardless of experience.

For details of the event, the opportunity to ‘Paint it Yourself', organizers and speakers please go to
Email contact :

Thursday 12 May 2016

'Pool' at Griffin Gallery 28th April - 10th June 2016

Curated by Rebecca Byrne and Liz Elton

Griffin Gallery is delighted to present the group exhibition Pool, exploring the expanded field of painting via the device of a constructed landscape, a garden, with works brought together as an immersive experience. Thirteen artists, all of whom work in and around painting, have been asked to make work that alludes to this theme. As the show has developed, new connections between the works have become apparent, and aims have altered and shifted. The construct of a garden has acted as a frame in itself, with ideas embedded in individual pieces moving in and outside its own boundaries.

The show begins before walking into the gallery with paintings that appear and disappear with blasts of steam.  Entry to the body of the show is via an immersive work that also presents a tunnel into another world. Once inside, viewers will find suggestions of paths with glimpses and vistas appearing as they progress, both of the garden of works itself and landscapes beyond.
Embracing the openness and inclusivity that is implied by the expanded field, Pool includes framed 2D pieces, moving out into sculptural work, video and performance. Works that are hung on the wall discuss space; interior space, the spatial language of painting,the space outside the painting as paint pools and sits on the surface of its support.Continuing to move beyond the frame, time is embedded in many of the works, the deep time of geological formations, the contemplative time of walking, the present time of performance, and future time in work that will decompose, to be shown again in a new form. 

Viewers are encouraged to engage with the show directly through deckchairs that can be moved around the space, and a bench for conversation.  A performance will happen during the show, unannounced, working with and around the works, possibly undocumented, probably leaving no trace.  A path leads to a door in the wall, offering a glimpse of a flickering pool, and the process of washing pigment is shown in a swirling film, suggesting the endless possibilities of painting.

About the artists
Rebecca Byrne explores interiority and the psychological impact of space in her paintings. In particular, her interest lies in the spaces that people inhabit, the traces left behind in abandoned spaces and thresholds into fantastical places that cannot exist. Recent exhibitions include ‘The Poor Door’, A-Side B-Side Gallery, London (2015), ‘The Red Files’, Schwartz Gallery, London (2015) and ‘Art Athina’ with Lubomirov-Easton Gallery, Athens (2015).  Byrne is also beginning a Supported Residency at The Bothy Project in 2016.
Ian Davenport is famous for his abstract paintings, which are executed by letting paint pour over canvases, boards and aluminium panels, tilted so that the final composition is determined in an interaction between gravity and the paint's viscosity.  He has shown extensively worldwide including: Galerie Hopkins, Paris; GalerieSlewe, Amsterdam; Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York; Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul, Korea andDan Galeria, São Paulo. 
Lee Edwards works in a scrupulously detailed manner across various different mediums; his practice is frequently engaged with personal subject matter. Recent shows include solo exhibitions at GimpelFils (2008) and Domobaal (2011, 2016), and Lee has also curated a number of exhibitions. He has been featured in several publications including Time Out, Elle and Saatchi’s Art and Music Magazine. Lee is represented by Domobaal.
Liz Elton brings gestural painting together with landscape, exposing her paintings to the environment.  Documentation serves as work, remnants are reused, and compostable paintings look towards their future destruction. Recent shows include ‘EnPlein Air’, Mecklenburgh Square; ‘Art Athina' with Lubomirov-Easton; ‘Continuum of Ceaseless Change’, A.P.T. and ‘The John Moores Painting Prize’, Walker Art Gallery.  ‘Atmosphere’ was screened at the Gate Cinema, Notting Hill, following a showing of ‘Mr. Turner’.
Sarah Jones’s work draws on legacies of minimalism and literal theatricality, embracing and ramping this up as a part of picture making. Recent exhibitions and performances include Studio Hollybush Gardens, ‘hmn edition 1’, ‘Summer Rising’ IMMA Dublin and ‘Spoken Weird’ at Whitechapel Gallery. Jones completed her PhD in Painting at the Royal College of Art and is Resident in Critical Practice at the Royal Academy Schools 2014/2016. Jones has no website.
Rob Leech describes his practice in the context of a sensory experience;“When you go to an Indian Restaurant there is always a dish that comes out still sizzling. I want that dish, and I don't want the sizzling to stop.”Recent exhibitions include ‘Painting in Time’, The TETLEY, Leeds; ‘Apocalyptic Future Games’, No Format, London and ‘Altered Terrain’, Associated Gallery, Brooklyn, New York. Leech is also the Director and Curator at FORT, London.
Juliette Losq makes work concerned with the detritus of an almost forgotten past with which our daily experience is littered. Drawn installations, employing shifts in scale and imagery, evoke the chaotic nature of marginal spaces, conjuring a sense of whimsical curiosity that invites the viewer to explore them. Selected group exhibitions and awards include: ‘John Moores Painting Prize’, Finalist and Visitor’s Choice Award (2014); ‘Complicit, Coates and Scarry’ at Gallery 8, London (2015); ‘Ghosts’, FAS Contemporary, London (2015) and Jerwood Drawing Prize (2015).
Vanessa Maurice-Williams’ work concerns wayfinding through large-scale installations that concentrate on the threshold/the portal. The scale is of fundamental importance - immense and comical, the works loom above the viewer, fighting for their attention.  Recent exhibitions include: ‘Socially Engineered Machine’, The Control Room, Bristol and ‘Midden’, VulpesVulpes, London. Maurice-Williams was shortlisted for the Derek Hill at the British School at Rome and Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2014).
Sam Mould is a landscape artist whose practice occurs through a translation of physical time-based actions. Cartography of location, place and time emerges through different mediums as a way of being in and moving through and connecting with site, memory and landscape. Recent exhibitions include A.P.T. Gallery (2014) and The Jerwood Drawing Prize (2012). Mould also writes for PaintUnion and had a residency with The Bothy Project (2014).
OnyaMcCausland’s work explores underlying, often overlooked or hidden histories and narratives between geological materials and humans. Her new earthwork Charcoal Measure 2016can now be seen in the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. Recent exhibitions/projects have been supported by Newlyn Gallery (2009), Kettle’s Yard (2010), the Delfina Foundation (2012), and Camden Arts Centre (2014). She is currently showing new prints at the Royal Academy, and is completing a PhD at the Slade UCL in 2016.
Selma Parlour’s paintings are meticulously rendered through soft films of transparent oil on linen so that imagery looks drawn or printed. Central to her invented vocabulary are: the frame, flatness, surface, bands and units of isolated colour and trompe l'oeil illusion. Recent exhibitions include a solo show ‘Paradoxes of the Flattened-out Cavity’, DioHoria, Mykonos, Greece (2015), as well as ‘Selma Parlour & Yelena Popova’, Horton Gallery, New York (2012) and‘The Creative Cities Collection’, The Barbican, London (2012).
Kes Richardson makes paintings in a range of ways employing a growing resource of reoccurring motifs and visual languages. Currently, discarded paintings have become fodder for new works with an interest in the physicality of the medium and its construction together with the use of visual game-play, puns and structures. Recent exhibitions include 'Demolition Derby' at FOLD, London, 'P' at Horatio Junior, London and 'Garten a.V.' at Frontviews Temporary, Berlin. Richardson is represented by FOLD.
Sarah Kate Wilson makes paintings that continue to evolve as they exit the studio. These works are kept alive by presenting them as events, through the use of ephemeral materials, by directing others via instructions to interact with them and by working with performers. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Iris’, BALTIC 39, Newcastle and ‘Projected Paintings’ at Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California. Group exhibitions include ‘Painting in Time’ (2014), which she co-curated at The TETLEY, Leeds.

For more information, images and interviews, please contact Griffin Gallery

Monday 2 November 2015

Curating Painting | Eliza Gluckman and Marcelle Joseph In Conversation

6:30-8:30pm 10th November 2015

PaintUnion returns to Griffin Gallery on Tuesday 10th November at 6.30pm. On this occasion we invited two independent curators who work without designated gallery space to come and discuss curating painting.
We are delighted to welcome Marcelle Joseph of Marcelle Joseph Projects and Eliza Gluckman of Day + Gluckman.  In particular, they will be discussing aspects of contemporary painting that interest them, as well as the challenges and benefits associated with a curation practice that is not gallery based.

Image:Installation view of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's Heaven Help Us All (2005) at Figuratively Speaking curated by Marcelle Joseph at Heike Moras Art, London, 2015 
Marcelle Joseph Projects was founded by Marcelle Joseph, an independent curator and author based in London, as a roving contemporary art projects company in early 2011. The company stages four to five significant exhibitions each year, highlighting a range of important emerging to established artists working across a variety of media. The company presents works of art in an array of unique spaces and pop-up galleries across the United Kingdom and seeks to tailor the exhibition venue to the specific works on display.  In 2014, Marcelle took her company international, staging exhibitions in Istanbul and Athens.   Marcelle is also the executive editor of Korean Art: The Power of Now (Thames & Hudson, 2013), a survey of Korean contemporary art showcasing 120 artists, museum and gallery directors, curators and collectors from Korea, and Japan Contemporary: Art from the Archipelago, another survey book to be published by Thames & Hudson in October 2016.  She will co-curate her first museum exhibition at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in August/September 2017, showcasing the work of 24 artists who have graduated from the Royal Academy Schools between 2007 and 2017.

Image: Still Life by Sarah Pager, installed at Material Tension, Collyer Bristow Gallery, 2015
Day + Gluckman have a reputation for working with artists with a rigorous approach to practice and context, developing long-term relationships with artists; seeking to initiate opportunities to exhibit, explore, curate and commission.  Over the past 7 years, Day+Gluckman have worked with a variety of organisations and spaces including the V&A, National Trust, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth Arts Centre, Newlyn Art Gallery, Bexley Heritage Trust and the Canal and Rivers Trust. They have programmed Collyer Bristow Gallery since 2008.
Eliza Gluckman originally studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art as part of the University Fine Art MA. Alongside her work with Lucy Day she is also Curator of the New Hall Art Collection, University of Cambridge, the largest collection of works by women in Europe. 
For more information e mail
The Studio Building,
21, Evesham Street,
W11 4AJ

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Sarah Kate Wilson and Kate Hawkins at PaintUnion 30th September 2014

Griffin Gallery
30th September 2014 
6:30 – 8:30pm

PaintUnion are delighted to welcome Kate Hawkins and Sarah Kate Wilson to discuss their practices at the Griffin Gallery.

Image 'Alien', 2014courtesy Sarah Kate Wilson

Sarah Kate Wilson aims to destabilise the tradition of painting, of which a static object hung on a wall is typical. She sidesteps away from ‘finished’ paintings preferring to keep the works in a state of flux and make the passing of time explicit through various strategies, such as asking the audience to physically interact with the work and the use of ephemeral materials such as balloons and mirrored acrylics. Wilson is currently showing in a three person exhibition at The Newlyn Gallery, Penzance and has been nominated for the inaugural ‘2014 New City Prize for the Visual Arts’ in partnership with MK Gallery.  Previous exhibitions include, TORTOISE, WW Gallery, London; PART THREE: Oblique Exchange, 2013, APT Gallery, London, UK; Uncle Vern’s Dog, Gallery North, Newcastle, 2013; Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012, shortlisted (UK touring show). She is currently doing a Practice Based PhD at Leeds University (AHRC funded).

Image installation shot from 'Escape the Esplanade', courtesy Kate Hawkins

Kate Hawkins recently completed a practice-based PhD at Winchester School of Art on whether painting can be performative without becoming theatrical and what this means for spectatorship. Her work is informed by her previous performance-based background, frequently encouraging the spectator to adopt the role of performer and to actively engage with the work. In 2013/14 she exhibited in New Order II, British Art Today at the Saatchi Gallery, and in Bloomberg New Contemporaries, selected by Chantal Joffe, Ryan Gander, and Nathaniel Mellors. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Escape the Esplanade, Limbo, Margate, 2013; The King of Hearts Has No Moustache, Gallery Vela, London, 2012; and My Brother is a Hairy Man, with James Ferris, at George Polke, London, 2011.

Cornelia Baltes & Sean Penlington at PaintUnion

Cornelia Baltes and Sean Penlington spoke at PaintUnion at the Griffin Gallery on April 29th 2014. This is a piece by Sam Mould discussing the event  

The context of the expanded field of painting brings immediate awareness to the use of other media, which may or may not include the classic associations of traditional painting mediums to operate in the debate about contemporary painting.

Yes, both Sean Penlington and Cornelia Baltes work in the expanded field of painting, but what was striking about both of these artists was their relationship to humour, notably irony. Why should humour, mockery and irony be important in the nature of the way in which we communicate, not just through painting: during the course of daily life.

André Breton, the surrealist in 1935 wrote a book ‘Anthologie de l’Humour Noir’ and coined the term black humour for the wit of the skeptic and cynic, often portrayed through satire, there are numerous examples of this in the fine arts ranging from Hogarth to Shrigley. And although neither of the aforementioned artists could be associated with surrealism, the notion of humour dates back to Roman times and is a common element of our sphere of communication today.

Penlington using various languages, makes marks, creates angles and lines, holds onto drips, splats and gestures in trying to find a different space for painting to operate in. Recognising that all this mark making, maps out various psychological states, causing a to-ing and fro-ing, a flow, a loop of difference, if you will, not only within the paintings gestalt but, between the works installed and thrice again in the viewers glace. Humans are creatures of ever changing sensations, an impermanent flux of synaptic occurrences that only ever exist in one particular moment, in one particular time, never to be repeated. Looking at these paintings therefore brings awareness to these constantly changing states, making one aware of ones own being.

The surface of the painting seems to be an honest history of the evidence of happenings, which is reflected paradoxically through abstract painting: a history of itself. This surface of evidenced is conjoined with other materials ranging from beads, paper, charcoal, rope, wood to be subsumed into surfaces that extend the boundary of the painting, creating a vocabulary of anticipation. Such humour juxtaposes the enormous weight of existence with comical elements that underscore the futility of life. In Penlington’s work we can literally see the weight of life leaning on the objects that constitute the painting.

We can reference David Ryan here in the introduction to Talking Painting, 2002,where he describes the ‘present condition of abstract painting; fragmented, multiple, heterogeneous.’Penlington recognizes that abstract painting has an inevitable complex condition. It needs to be within a system, yet outside of those boundaries too. It is trapped in its own historicity that has a defined framework, albeit dynamic and in fact at times craves to be viewed without this baggage.

Baltes on the other hand is working in a multitude of media from paint, photography, site-specific installations, print and objects, her creative talent lies initially in observation of the world around her. Working with sharp shapes, humourous configurations alluding to creatures and beings with a light but purposeful touch that has an inkling of Charles M. Schulz’s; Charlie Brown, Woodstock and Snoopy in the Peanuts comic strips. Every mark is coolly calculated, not to mention her true affinity for colour that sets a playful scene. Baltes’ beauty of observation in juxtaposing occurrences together speaks of many metaphors, but she is not prescriptive in the meaning, leaving the viewer hopefully with a wry smile.

Simple anthropomorphic marks have weight to them; acting in an installation not only as individual pieces but have meaning in relation other objects and marks.
The touch of the artists hand is evident, the physicality of the marks, be they painted or drawn, positioned fabrics, paper, chains, objects; they all have clear evidence of a willingness to handle materials and a keen ability in the balance and composition of space within the installation of the objects themselves and in relation to one another.

What we mean by the expanded field of painting here is the nature of objects, from a painterly background that are installed in a site specific environment, where, objects, light, distance and spaces – all inhabitants of the environment are defined in relation to all the other things. Nothing therefore in an environment in the expanded field of painting therefore means anything really, except in relationship.For both artists work it seems that the connections themselves are real.

Using the spatial qualities of painting, both Baltes and Penlington transcend the confines of the picture frame with affability and humour. The intellectual use of space, using void as disruption; where space is interrupted with objects, touching on notions of difference, of connectivity, relation and interruption – constructs a singularity, yet the potentiality for further derivatives. Things being next to one another are related through proximity, not narrative. It’s the viewer who potentially brings the narrative. The metaphoric links therefore that do occur perhaps are not necessarily planned but a happy coincidence of observation by the artists. This flow of metaphors and juxtapositions occurs all around us, all of the time, yet the artist brings attention, a link or series of links, which for any viewer maybe carried over into their powers of observation in the future, making links, that they couldn’t have made before; recognizing small nuances in life due to a new neural path way being developed, or not. Both artists work with an openness that allows for speculation.
A paintings meaning therefore is whatever the viewer attributes to it- this is one dynamic aspect of the expanded field.

So as you can see, when we refer to the artists joke here, we are not referring to the slapstick, one liners of Richard Prince for example, but a sensitive, darker humour, rooted in a culture of stoicism, because humour in fact, might just be considered a mere coping mechanism. A way to look at the wider world with an affection that it sometimes lacks, so when considering the profundity of the everyday we find comfort in the fact at least someone else, including Baltes and Penlington, are in the ironic boat with us. It’s a very serious joke!This is the stuff that makes the world go round and it’s happening in the field of expanded painting.

Sam Mould

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Alice Browne and Selma Parlour at PaintUnion 24th June

PaintUnion is pleased to invite painters Alice Browne and Selma Parlour to discuss their practices at the Griffin Gallery on 24th June, 6:30-8:30pm.  Whilst visually distinct, their work shares common ground in the intersection of an interest in abstraction, architectural space and painting’s history.  
To reserve a place rsvp 

Image: Alice Browne, Projection, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 126cm x 110cm

Alice Browne states that starting a painting opens up manifold possibilities, fantasies of what could be. The defined space of the paper or canvas provides a fixed viewpoint from which the space can be flattened out ahead or tilted forward. Shapes obscure one another like interfering objects in front of a camera lens, or are slotted into place like stage sets. Sections of paint are given physical attributes like weight and bulk, hanging or jammed between thin transparent layers that slip around and beyond the field of view.  Recent solo shows include Project Space, Prosjektrom Normanns, Stavanger (2014);  In Place, Limoncello, London (2013); Sequence, annarumma, Naples (2013); Fall-Out, The China Shop, Oxford (2012); And Then, Supercollider, Blackpool (2012), and Certain Obstacles, Limoncello, (2012). Her work will feature in group show Informal Elements at Ovada Gallery, Oxford this month, which will include a panel discussion with speakers Hanneke Grootenboer, Paul Hobson and Bev Broadhead.

Image: Selma Parlour, Inadmissible Logic, 2014, oil on linen 91cm x 81cm

In her paintings, Selma Parlour explores a meta-analysis of painting to ascertain the potential of in/extrinsic conventions previously abandoned by 20th Century discourse. For example, she uses bands of colour to investigate traits discarded by antecedent models of enquiry, such as figure/ground relationships, the frame, and trompe l'oeil. Celebrating both painting and the gallery, Parlour's paintings test the re-presentation of art and context through a codification of photography's installation shot of abstract painting. Her imagery is two-dimensional, diagrammatic, and arranged as minimal scenery flats, creating a theatrical stage space that curtails fictive distance as it represents it.  This month, Parlour is showing with Beers Contemporary, London at Volta 10, Basel.  Past exhibitions include: Selma Parlour, MOT International Projects, London (2012); Selma Parlour & Yelena Popova, Horton Gallery, New York (2012); The Creative Cities Collection, The Barbican, London (2012), and 270112 Abstractions, Laure Genillard Gallery, London (2012).

Thursday 24 April 2014

George Little and Susan Sluglett at PaintUnion

This is a review of the event on Tuesday 10 December at Griffin Gallery written by artist Sam Mould
PaintUnion welcomes artists Susan Sluglett and George Little for our first evening of discussion. The term Painter of Modern Life applies to each artist, Sluglett presenting her painterly investigations based in an arbitrary mythology and Little adopting the metaphorical platform of the restaurant. Susan and George will each give a brief presentation of their work and then we will have a conversation with the artists, with a focus on how the history of painting is embedded in their practices.
Susan Sluglett currently lives and works in London; she is one of the three Jerwood Painting Fellows 2013. Following the opening show at Jerwood Visual Arts in April, the exhibition toured to BayArt in Cardiff through August, and will open in Aberystwyth Arts Centre in January 2014.
George Little currently lives and works in London. In 2012 he graduated from the Royal College of Art. He has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally, including the Liverpool Biennial and the ICA as part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries.

Image: Susan Sluglett and George Little at PaintUnion, image courtesy Bosse and Baum

The Painter of Modern Life to coin a phrase was an essay written in 1863 by Charles Baudelaire as a commentary upon the modern day artist. This infamous essay reaches into the notion of duality between beauty and the artist ‘the duality of art is a fatal consequence of the duality of man.’
For Baudelaire, beauty is always in flux and momentary, yet enduring and eternal. ‘The pleasure which we derive from the representation of the present is due not only to the beauty with which it can be invested, but also to its essential quality of being present’and because we are made up of components analogous to what constitutes being man, there occurs a duality. The modern or ‘contemporary’ artist is considered the dandy, ‘a worldly observer with the curiosity of a child’ and ‘beauty is nothing else but a promise of happiness’.
This brings a slant on the investigative title of the talk: the painter of modern, or should it be said contemporary life. If we consider this the starting point in framing the work of George Little and Susan Sluggettwe are immediately immersed in a commentary upon these notions of beauty, flâneurism and a thoughtful, yet possible grotesque analysis of the indulgence of the western world.

George Little uses a variety of otherwise mundane subject matter orientated around the detritus of the restaurant to create a structured, yet opportune series of paintings. Aspects of pure painterly occurrence, such as metaphoric stains left on a tablecloth or the smear of lipstick on a napkin wrestle with bold lines and predictable patterns as though tussling with one another for dominance of the viewer’s attention. Layer upon layer of evidence is left, like the crumbs on plate. Underlying all of George Little’s work is a reflection on a fundamental need to eat and drink, this eating and drinking however comes with a commentary on what is left, the discarded bits of that beautiful plate of food, that experience of eating.More recently Little’s paintings have rolled into an installation format full of gestural mimicry. The palette and pattern are reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s use of colour or Patrick Caulfield’s bolshy prints. Likening the art world to the world of service. A cord between an expressive gesture and a formalized pattern is held in tension.

Susan Sluggett’s gestural still life paintings have a strangeness about them that seems to be a different way of at looking at things, and when we look at those things they get translated though painting into quirky animated objects that appear to be up to no good. Referencing demise and excess amongst other things they cynically critique our everyday existence in the world. Obsession with the rich and famous, evidence of their demise on one level serves as a commentary of social awareness, like a Hogarth etching and on another level acts around this notion of flânuerism for the everyday individual to find solace in the fact that celebrities, and even morphed animated objects have their vices. There is a strange juxtaposition, like finding a champagne bottle resting on the wall of a housing estate in Hackney or the blow up doll left at the gateway to a church. The humour and irony cannot be missed, even though it is shrouded in a cartoon façade, deep morals actually lie within as Susan Sluggett pours questions over social power and human relationships with a light-hearted well attuned flick of the paint brush.

Going back to Baudelaire’s observation that there is beauty in the every day and that anyone and everyone may cast themselves as the dandy.

Sam Mould