Friday, 23 May 2014

Ansel Krut @ Modern Art Fitzroy square

Modern Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings by Ansel Krut. This is the artist’s second solo show with Modern Art, and is four years since he last exhibited in London.

Ansel Krut’s exhibition at Modern Art’s Fitzroy Square gallery presents a body of new paintings with a distinctive painterly character that portray figures, buildings, and references to the modern canon. While underpinned with Krut's characteristically mordant humour this powerful body of new paintings sees an engagement with themes of violence, power and melancholy.

Ansel Krut was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1959. He has lived and worked in London since the early 1980s. Ansel Krut graduated with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 1986, after which he was awarded the Abbey Major scholarship to the British School in Rome. He attended the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (1982-1983), and completed his BA in Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (1979-1982).

Ansel Krut’s paintings are to be the subject of a forthcoming survey exhibition ‘Verbatim’ at the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, 3 May – 9 July 2014.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Mudlark @ Fold Gallery London

‘…he stood knee-high in the dreadful-looking inky deposit that accumulates by the river walls; and was groping higher than his elbows, with a shrewd sense of touch for anything buried and worth fishing up.’
 James Greenwood, ‘Toilers in London by One of the Crowd’, 1883

 ‘Usually I am on a work for a long stretch, until a moment arrives when the air of the arbitrary vanishes and the paint falls into positions that feel destined… to paint is a possessing rather than a picturing.’
 Philip Guston, ‘12 Americans’ exhibition catalogue, MOMA, New York, 1956

FOLD Gallery | London is pleased to present ‘Mudlark’, an exhibition bringing together seven artists who share a similar approach to the process of painting.  Although arriving at what is arguably contrasting final imagery, each artist – to varying degrees – embraces a way of painting that celebrates the spontaneous, seeks the unexpected and wishes to explore the materiality of paint.
The title of the exhibition refers to riverside scavengers of the Victorian era who trawled the Thames riverbed at low tide searching for items of worth. In recent times, Mudlarks are more akin to archaeologists, aiming to make sense of history from the treasures they unearth.
Paint is inert, messy and resistant. Here it is persuaded and pushed around on the surface, trying to find a subject, trying to make sense and trying to avoid failure. Even if working from a loose starting point or external imagery, the end result is by no means predetermined. Images are stumbled upon, discarded or embraced. This approach throws up unexpected yet welcome surprises with ‘mistakes’ not merely incorporated, but courted. Fragments of form are found; a gesture or mark that activates the paint brings it to life. Corporeal forms and spectral objects slide between recognition and ambiguity and are divorced from any obvious narrative. Images are unearthed through a spontaneous activity where chance encounters are very much a part of the painting process. Often the image that is found and settled upon comes from an unconscious act or from the edge of the imagination.
Resolution is sought by following the painting’s own internal logic as it unfolds. A stage is reached – and finally – the image accepted, with the end result challenging the very notion of ‘finished’. These moments reveal the painting’s construction: here, an undertow of marks that barely cover the ground; there, a thick, excavated form carved into the paint. Precariously balanced, the image is held together by a fragile collection of form and line that seems, at times, to be at risk of collapsing back into itself, back into the inert matter of paint.

Saturday 2nd March - Saturday 30th March 2013
Fold Gallery

Friday, 14 September 2012


For his second solo exhibition with Poppy Sebire, Paul Housley presents new sculptures and paintings that play with the conventions of portraiture and still life.

The studio acts as a depository for an ever-growing collection of made and found objects, bric-a-brac, books and discarded works. These objects and the physical and mental landscape of the studio itself become an important character in the work. He makes no distinction between the three dimensional and the two dimensional works and often refers to his paintings as objects, seeing their physicality being at least as important as their image qualities.
The recurrent motifs in Housley's work are derived from art historical references and from the objects, both made and found, which sit amongst the detritus of his studio. His appropriation of works by past masters is an act of homage and a challenge, with the artist wilfully playing with the inherent romantic notions of the self-portrait.
Housley instinctively erases and reworks his canvases experimenting and distilling his ideas until he reaches something that he refers to as ‘believable’. The artist recently stated, ‘What I would like to do as a painter is to cleave a face in two and for that face to retain its dignity and integrity’.
14 September – 20 October 2012

Friday, 7 September 2012

Moments Around Us @ Idea Store Whitechapel Library

There is an event at the heart of each of the works, a transformation of the material when colour, line, shape, texture, tone and rhythm intensify in a moment of playfulness or alchemy. Visual and bodily experiences of the world are played out between material and image. Allusions to nature and to surreal forms appear in the residues of paint. Gestures remain open, suggested spaces or figures flutter and pulse in and out of existence, leaving only shards of meaning.

Laura Bygrave, Kate Groobey, Lucy Homer, Wendy McLean,
Iain Sharpe, Michele Tocca, Avis Underwood.
7 - 30 September 2012

Christopher Orr - Cleiking the Deil at Ibid Projects

Christopher Orr’s work embodies uncertainty, mystery and doubt through portraits of people from the recent past and landscapes suspended between reality and illusion.
His new body of work focuses on the figurative where his subjects appear deeply occupied with undefined activities, incongruous with the painting’s background. Characters, scenes and objects are lifted from the artist’s collection of science and history magazines, its pages serving as a free association of material from the natural world to folklore. The title of the show, Cleiking the Deil (catching the devil by his leg), references a parish tradition in Scotland revolving around the story of St Ronan, who is traditionally depicted with his crook attacking Satan, dispelling evil from our midst.
Christopher Orr's recent paintings are confident in their execution and in part he references a Romanticist ideal. Yet here some of the scenes feel different, man seems to be more isolated and detached. Instead of idealized historical events or allegories we find representations of rather unadorned men and women from everyday life who seem to be removed from reality, engrossed in some sort of obscure undertaking or ruled by something indiscernible.
The canvases of Christopher Orr depict landscapes populated by figures from a past time. Oscillating between figuration and abstraction, landscape backgrounds are in some instances rendered through matrix-like checkerboards, foreshadowing the real. Earthy palettes of colour build up the compositions that in some places have been scraped off to reveal the bare canvas beneath. Combining often ordinary source materials to produce extraordinary juxtapositions, Orr creates a painterly vision that is entirely his own.
25 August - 29 September 2012

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Phillip Allen @ The Approach

New material is demanded from the comedian.
Old material is demanded from the musician.
But what exactly are the demands made of the painter?
On their “The Approach gallery is proud to present Phillip Allen’s 5th solo London exhibition”.
Painting is more akin to a joke; something that gets told again and again, by newer and newer people enjoying something old which is new to them thus new to the world. Because a joke told by a new mouth is a new joke, because, as we know, it is no longer about the joke it is all about……………………… the timing.
I know Phil Allen, I have spent endless hours in a studio with him while he paints and I will let you in on a secret about him; he is paranoid that painting is hated. Personally I enjoy hearing Phil’s neurosis on the subject, it excites me, makes me wish I was a painter with a capital P.
Because… As we have been told it over and over again by the priests and undertakers of the art world who have put coins over the eyes of the corpse of painting, declared it dead while maintaining faith in the vitality of film, video, performance lectures. Well that’s just plain stupid and naïve. Still thinking that because it is not the old thing but the “new thing” and that being the “new thing” means it has life. But the way I see it is: it is all fucked. By enacting the dead/alive binary what you are doing is a subterfuge, trying to keep the machine alive by the ritual declaration of death of painting to keep “Junk Assemblage” alive by tying it to the old binary. When in fact the binary in itself is redundant and the machine is long broken.
The game is up, so let me not pretend like the fools over there who in their press releases talk of artistic “exploring and investigating” and always tell of the artist’s “obsession” with such and such obscurity. When we know that the only obsession artists have these days is Googling themselves. Painters with a capital P are the ones on the only path outside of the binary; they are like the zombie (a third position creature, the UN-REANIMATED). The Zombie is who, as artists, we should all be identifying with not those still clinging to life or wishing for death like the junk/scatter, film, photo, performance, sound, etc crowd. The P painter occupies the un-re-animated position, and so like the zombie forever walking the world looking for the brains of the living to eat, to remove the ration, the logical and the theoretical. They go to the studio every day, do this thing unquestioning and will repeat forever. There is nothing more to do in the post-infected landscape, thanks Marcel. The endgame has been played but the end never comes, and never will come. P-painters know and are right in knowing that the apocalypse is the wait for the apocalypse because the apocalypse never comes…. ever.
The views expressed in this press release do not necessarily reflect the views of Phil Allen or the Approach Gallery or any employee of the Approach Gallery.
Alastair MacKinven

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Fade Away - Painting show at Transition Gallery

Phillip Allen

Diluvial Geology,
Nathan Barlex
Fade Away is the first in an ongoing series of exhibitions at Transition with different guest curators focusing on the diversity of contemporary painting and exploring the ways in which artists are engaged with it.

Fade Away, which is curated by Alli Sharma, with an accompanying text by Barry Schwabsky, features paintings that oscillate between representation and abstraction. With widely diverse references and subject matter, they all share a strong material presence. Whatever the creative enquiry, they make you think about paint and the act of painting.

Some of the Fade Away artists work directly from the perceptible world; others use the representational as a point of departure into the abstract, or conversely, explore the abstract, which reveals itself as subject.  The dialogue between surface and illusion, representation and abstraction performs a paradoxical balancing act where surfaces are brushed, scored, erased, layered, revealed, dripped and collapsed. Compositions teeter on the verge of illegibility where images emerge and fade away. 

Blue Boy, Paul Housely