Tom Emery reviews Real Painting at at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, on view through August 2, 2015. The show features works by Simon Callery, Adriano Costa, Deb Covell, Angela de la Cruz, Lydia Gifford, David Goerk, Alexis Harding, Jo McGonigal, DJ Simpson, and Finbar Ward.
Emery writes that the show questions "20th century modes of thinking about painting - where an image is representative of something, even when it is ostensibly abstract - and it is this mode of thinking that Covell and McGonigal seek to redress. In their own words, this exhibition does not consider 'what a painting means, but what it "does"'. This is an exhibition of paintings that exist on their own terms, for their own sake, works that provide a physical presence and don’t just passively sit on a wall to be admired."
Katrina Blannin collects thoughts on color from a numner of artists including: Andrew Bick, Caterina Lewis, Clem Crosby, Dan Coombs, David Rhodes, Emma Biggs, Juan Bolivar, Karen David, Kate Terry, Kiera Bennett, Mali Morris, Selma Parlour, Simon Bill, Simon Callery, and Tom Benson.
In her introduction, Blannin writes of her interest in Iona Singh's argument that "we are losing touch with any meaningful connection with the materiality and facture of colour and our sensory perception... I would add to this the finite range of back lit colours that we are faced with on a daily basis on the computer or the TV – every colour starkly saturated and smoothed out: unmixed and de-materialised.: Blannin adds that the "contributions were gratefully received in the spirit of communal exchange. ...I think it is evident that a great deal of serious ‘labour’ and ‘research’ is going on with regard to the creation of colour relationships and colour materiality, whether through systematisation, organisation or experimentation, and the artistic results are testament to this."
De la Cruz: "I am continuing the tradition of painting... I believe that if you want to continue the language of painting, you have to use very good technical understanding and you have to know what you are talking about in terms of the history of painting. If you know that, then you can choose to reject it or break it... I am an abstract artist but only aesthetically."
Callery: "What distinguishes my paintings from sculpture is that a painter has made them. No sculptor could make my paintings... my paintings share qualities with sculpture and I embrace it. I am much more interested in collaboration, in sharing ideas and revealing shared common ground and ambitions with other art forms and disciplines. To be able to move around a painting and to navigate and explore it as lived experience, in common with three-dimensional objects like sculpture, is an example of this."
Cornish begins: "despite how much [Smith's works] play with the physical conventions of painting, in terms of the stretcher etc., they remained something which to me was like an image... they read instantaneously, they read on a flat plane, as a whole thing, and that part of that instantaneousness was the presence of illusion; particularly with the cross works there was a thing, the cross, that existed in a sequence of twisting illusionistic spaces; and that even the things which are most physical, most outside the conventions of the rectangle, i.e the twisted shape of the works, the protruding bars and the falling string, all felt to me like they were caught up in this singular, illusionistic, instantaneously read ‘thing’, even as it sort exploded onto the wall."
Callery remarks: "my challenge was to be aware of the geology under foot, to recognize its impact on the character and use of the landscape and importantly to work out how this might influence the paintings. There is a very vital equation that needs to be made absolutely clear in this situation and that is how the experience of landscape impacts on painting. Since I don’t use painting as a way of depicting the surface appearance of landscape it is the experience of the material landscape that I go to for clues to develop my paintings. I see it as how the experience of landscape can serve the needs of painting rather than how painting can serve to represent landscape."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.