SHORT STORIES ABOUT PAINTING ~ An Exhibition at Art Space Gallery : 9 September - 15 October 2005

Short Stories about Painting

co-curated with Jeffrey Dennis

9 September – 15 October 2005

Simon Callery
Louise Catrell
Jeffrey Dennis
Tim Renshaw
Merlin James
Virginia Verran

View the Exhibition


"… I once had this idea of starting a magazine called Oil Painting. It wouldn’t discuss anything else, and a critic would write in the way a sports writer would write when looking at tennis. He would say, Beautiful ground stroke by God, look at the way he stroked that, and in that yellow, that Naples yellow" *

Experiments in painting ‘live’ are rare. Malcolm Morley, whose words are quoted above, once attempted to paint his version of Raphael’s The School of Athens in front of an audience, but painting as a spectator sport is doomed to failure; the idea runs counter to the convention that the audience for a painting will view the results not the activity.

The popularisation of art’s conceptual dimension has tended to accentuate the division so that the audience’s first question on being confronted with unfamiliar art is What does it mean? With this exhibition, and the accompanying publication and DVD that features interviews with artists in their studios talking about their working practice, the intention is to defer that question. Rather than asking why these artists paint and what the paintings mean, it is being argued that the significance of the work may be better understood through an awareness of what they do: their working order, rhythm, habits and choices.

With a focus on six artists never before shown together, this exhibition will embrace the diversity and complexity of painting today, and maybe bring audience and artist a little closer together.

The publication will also include contributions from Tim Green (Tate Britain conservation department) and Jon Archdeacon (A.P. Fitzpatrick suppliers and researchers of artists materials) and will collect together stories about painting from a wide variety range of contributors: part treasury of anecdotes that may yield insight into practice, part rogues’ gallery of myths and misunderstandings that perhaps merely compound the mystery. But it is hoped that this will form the foundation of a new ‘archive’ of information about contemporary painting.

* Showing the View to a Blind Man: Malcolm Morley talking to David Sylvester, Malcolm Morley catalogue for the exhibition
11 Sept – 12 Oct 1990, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London ISBN 0 947564 32

118-pages book with DVD is availabe.


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