Rob Leech, Sean Penlington, Mia Taylor, Sarah Kate Wilson
‘Ten years on, I am all the more convinced that painting, since the late 1970’s version of its ‘end’, has not only survived but also thrived because of its embrace of the coalitional. What sometimes works for governments frequently works for painting, as nearly thirty years of recent activity that is considered to be painting has demonstrated by its ability to work with rather than against other media, even if the partnership is self-consciously temporary and provisional.’
Leech, Penlington, Taylor and Wilson occupy a territory within an ‘expanded field of painting’, a term borrowed from Rosalind Krauss’ seminal essay ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’ (1979). This field of practice claims a heritage to painting, yet departs from certain constraints of medium specificity.
The works by these artists exemplify painting’s embrace of other media. They borrow, absorb and in turn claim for painting: languages, materials and philosophical underpinnings that might be thought intrinsic to other mediums.
Sean Penlington’s paintings explicitly acknowledge the medium’s history; its baggage is employed as a type of short hand, helping the viewer leapfrog to particular ideas and narratives within the work. Fabric, faux fur, beads, ropes, plastic balls and fruit are used in conjunction with the more traditional oil paint. Library loan slips for books such as David Ryan’s Talking Painting: Dialogues Between 12 Contemporary Abstract Painters are incorporated and operate as touchstones to debates within the medium.
Dealing with notions of temporality and surface value, Rob Leech celebrates bling and quick fixes. His choice and application of materials and methods of display – pots of vibrating gloss paint on plinths and crisp vinyl applied to gallery walls – are used to seduce. Leech’s recent body of work, titled Instant Tan, is described as ‘A happy meeting between Post-painterly Abstraction and The Only Way Is Essex.’ . The site-specific works in this exhibition are created using instant tan applied straight from the bottle onto the gallery walls. This process emulates marks that the sun may make as it shines through the windows at Fort.
Many of Mia Taylor’s works are site-responsive and activate or call attention to the environmental conditions and architecture they are placed within. Exploring the ‘unfixed’ nature of contemporary painting, these works exist in a constant state of change due to variable conditions and the employment of everyday materials. Recently Taylor has utilised mass-produced architectural, electronic and design-based drawing templates, which provide a systematic two-dimensional visual language to describe actions, objects or space. Taylor re-purposes these templates, using their motifs to develop a hybridised language that talks of three-dimensional space and systems yet is also situated within a formal language of modernism and geometric abstraction.
Sarah Kate Wilson’s ‘durational paintings’, involve curators, audiences and collectors in their ‘lives’. Her abandonment of paint allows the works to continually metamorphose once they leave the studio. Similarly to Taylor’s, Wilson’s paintings remain in a state of flux. Her paintings are not post-performance relics or pre-performance objects, but instead, exist and are activated in ‘real time’.
Rob Leech (b. 1983 Derby, UK). Lives and works in London. Studied Fine Art MA, Royal Academy Schools, London (2006 – 2009). Selected exhibitions include: Sluice Art Fair, 2013, London, UK; The Area of Misinformation, Hack The Barbican, 2013, The Barbican Centre, London, UK; Instant Tan (Solo, as part of the event A Continuous Project Altered in a Day), 2013, Corfu, London, UK; Rock - Paper - Scissors, 2012, UNO+UNO, Milan, Italy; Riff Raff, 2010, Q, 5-8 Lower John Street, London, UK.
Sean Penlington (b. 1987 Liverpool, UK). Lives and works in London. Studied Fine Art MA, Chelsea College of Art & Design, UAL, London (2012 – 2013); BA (Hons) Fine Art, Manchester Metropolitan University (2007 – 2010). Selected exhibitions include: FACK!, 2013, West London Art Prize, The Griffin Gallery, London, UK; The Manchester Contemporary, 2013, The International 3, Manchester, UK; NADA Cologne, 2012, The International 3, Cologne, Germany; Creative Cities Collection: London in 2012, The Olympic Gallery, Beijing, China; The Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4's New Sensations, 2010, London, UK. He curated and participated in Honeymoon, 2013, Triangle Space, Chelsea College of Art, London, UK and is represented by The International 3, Manchester.
Mia Taylor (b. 1977 Bristol, UK) Lives and works in London. Studied Fine Art MA, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London (2004 – 2005); BA (Hons) Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University (1996 – 1999). Selected exhibitions include: Major Flow Chartlate, 2013, toomer labzda, New York (solo); Untitled: Glitch, 2013, Peacock Projects, London, UK; PART TWO: Obscured Exchange, 2013, APT Gallery, London, UK; Painting-Versus-Object, 2012, Standpoint Gallery, London, UK; C.H.E.E.R. Miami, (Solo), NADA Miami, 2011, toomer labzda; Jerwood Contemporary Painters, 2008, London, UK.
Sarah Kate Wilson (b. 1982 Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands). Lives and works in London. Studied MFA Painting at The Slade School of Fine Art, London (2008 – 2010). Selected exhibitions include: 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 co-curated and participated in the UK touring exhibition Malerei; Painting as Object, 2012. She is currently a practice based PhD. candidate at Leeds University (AHRC).
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