AboutBALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead presents an entirely new body of work by Lydia Gifford (born Cheltenham, 1979) produced for BALTIC's ground floor gallery space. Drawn will be Gifford's first solo exhibition in a UK institution. Exploring her ongoing concern with the language of painting and the balance between painting and object, the exhibition will be a choreographed series of encounters, gestures and conversations.
Known for works that are situated on the boundaries of completion, Gifford's practice grows from an activity of application, removal, insertion, incision, placement and replacement.
The processes of painting and the nuances of memory are central to Gifford's work, both in the recollection of a context and the handling and movement of paint as a residue of thought. Gifford's work also often engages directly with the exhibition site: marks made to the surface of a work may also be made to the wall and works previously realised in the studio.
Gifford's works engage with each other and dance in palpable rhythm; there is a raw physicality in the works, which are all made within the artist's own dimensions. While large-scale paintings take on the weight of a human figure, they stand silent witness to smaller works that take on human gestures. Lap 2014, for example, takes its title from a temporary bodily space, a place of potential interaction suggested by the work as it curves gently from the wall as if yielding to another's embrace.
Gifford's humming yellows and fleshy pinks are reminiscent of the artist Philip Guston's paintings of armpits, elbows and knuckles. The surfaces are important some bound, some folded, others layered with paint taking on a skin-like translucency which, on close examination, reveals a complex working and reworking. There is a literal and metaphorical tension in the work between structure and surfaces, between interior and exterior. Yet, there is lightness too, a pliability that Gifford seeks to borrow from drawing into working with materials such as wood and paint.