Im/material bodies - a PaintLounge conversation

9 Mar 2019

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Free admission

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England, United Kingdom


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  • Hackney Central
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Sharon Haward, Phil Illingworth, Paula MacArthur and Wendy Saunders will come together on the PaintLounge sofa to discuss one another's work in relation to the theme of the exhibition.


Drawing parallels between the materiality of canvas, paper, paint and the human body, these artists query whether the human spirit can be embodied materially. So often the mind is seen as being entirely separate from the body, completely splitting apart the physical & intellectual/spiritual. The works selected for this show embody that which does not already exist as an image or object and bring our awareness to the skin-like fragility of surface, at once describing something corporeal and evocative of its consciousness.

These artists distill feelings, thoughts and intuitions into static objects. They bring focus to the things which are ordinarily imperceptible so that they can be registered, understood and most crucially, felt. The surface qualities allude to flesh and bring our awareness to the delicate barrier between our internal and external existence;  they suggest the possibility of transport between the self and other, physical and spiritual, material and immaterial revealing possible routes to our fundamental interconnectedness.

Sharon Haward creates interventions and assemblages that involve the superimposition of different media onto objects, structures and architectural spaces. She looks for ways of expressing a sense of shifting form and meaning, by overlaying one space with the memory or traces of itself or of another related site, changing the quality of the host space without obliterating it’s essential character.

Often working in three dimensions, Phil Illingworth nevertheless approaches his work as a ‘painter’, the history and  visual syntax of painting providing him with a field of enquiry through  which to explore the conventions of both painter and viewer. His works are created with the intention that they have no projected signifiers other than the physical realisation of the work, its material components and the language used to describe it.  

Paula MacArthur’s garment series of paintings are suggestive of draped or wrapped figures yet our inability to be certain of precisely what lies underneath the fabric gives us a sense of unease and unworldliness. From a distance the illusion is readable but as the viewer gets closer surface comes into focus, the illusion disappears and the viewer becomes immersed in the expanse of transparent colour.

Wendy Saunders constructs her painting supports specifically to act as carriers for a number of ideas relating to the reading of human countenance and emotion. They are an evolved, abstracted representation of the human form, combining surface and materials she evokes ideas of character or states of human expression which activate a psychological reading merely with the addition of coloured paint. She experiments with ways that the materials can be used to drive these anthropomorphic representations and how that represents either a state of mind, some form of behaviour or ideas about the human condition”.  

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Paula MacArthur

Paula MacArthur

Wendy Saunders

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Wendy Saunders

Paula MacArthur

Paula MacArthur

Phil Illingworth

Sharon Haward

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