All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

20 Oct 2017 – 29 Oct 2017

Event times

Friday - Sunday 1pm - 6pm and by appointment

Cost of entry


London, United Kingdom


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All We Ever Wanted Was Everything brings together the work of three painters: Alan Hathaway, Lisa Penny and Julian Wakelin.


Despite formal and conceptual differences, all three artists work consciously within a framework of historical debates that have repeatedly pointed to painting’s exhaustion and its subsequent ‘revivals’.

Implicit within their working methodologies (their daily practice) is an intuitive feel for the way in which the ‘stuff ‘of painting, its materiality, its physicality and its real time presence, continues to transcend the question of what is or is not ‘permissible’ at any given time. 

All three artists approach painting as a discursive layering activity, which actively pushes beyond the aesthetic confines that came to characterise late modernism. The plurality of their work demonstrates the way in which the ‘openness’ of contemporary painting acts as powerful vehicle for historical and social commentary as well as personal reflection.

The key to Alan Hathaway’s practice is an attempt to understand, through non- linear, autobiographical processes, the use of reductive aesthetics (of absence) across a broad range of cultural or subcultural activities. 

He is interested in exploring and re defining abstract painting through the use of

text, installation, drawing and film. 

In a recent series of monochromes, Hathaway alludes to painted surfaces through the manipulation of industrial materials. Whilst hinting at the ‘modernist end game’, encoded within these objects is not so much a vision of utopia, but rather the continued potential for abstraction to act as a conduit for resistance. 

Lisa Penny reconfigures found objects within the ‘familiar apparatus’ of painting. Her work shifts between image and object, resisting traditional definitions of painting, sculpture or assemblage. 

Penny is fascinated by the way in which both painting and clothing can signify definitions of culture and class. The introduction of ‘dress codes’ into the language of painting prompts questions around the status, value and context of material objects.

For Penny the selection and manipulation of found materials within the deconstructed picture frame enables the ‘real world to become more like painting’

Julian Wakelin makes work that explores the physicality of painting. His practice can be seen as an investigation into the ambiguity between the material of the painted surface and what it might appear to represent. These highly worked surfaces offer a personal and poetic approach to abstraction that differs from the detached attitudes of more reductive or process led abstraction.

Wakelin creates ‘spaces’ that intrigue but ultimately resist interrogation through language. Through a casual, but simultaneously deliberate use of gesture, he generates ideas that can only exist as painting.

Artist’s bios

Alan Hathaway was born in London in 1968. His practice encompasses painting, drawing, text and installation. He was shortlisted for the 2014 Jerwood Drawing Prize and was artist in residence at mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) -

2015 to 2016. He currently lives and works in the North East of England.

Lisa Penny is a London based artist who co - runs lm6a Project Room in Dalston. In

2015 Penny received Arts Council funding for a residency at Eastside International in LA, which culminated in the publication of 'Aesthetic Indifference'. The project was presented as a text performance/reading with X marks the Bokship, at Matt's Gallery.

Julian Wakelin was born in Windlesham in 1968; He has exhibited in numerous shows both in the UK and internationally. In 2006 he was a finalist in the John Moores Painting Prize, Liverpool, and the following year was featured in the painting magazine Turps Banana, (accompanying text by Peter Suchin). He lives and works in London.

Art form Toggle


Lisa Penny

Exhibiting artists

Alan Hathaway

Lisa Penny

Julian Wakelin

Taking part

Barbican Arts Group Trust

Barbican Arts Group Trust

London, United Kingdom

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