AboutMalerei: Painting As Object
Helen Baker, Phyllida Barlow, Virginia Bodman, Sean Edwards, Sarah Bowker-Jones, Sarah Kate Wilson, Gabriel Hartley, Natalie Gale, Paul Merrick, Rudolf Polanszky, Alexis Harding
âIf destiny will grant me enough time I shall discover an international language which will endure forever and which will continue to enrich itselfâ¦its name will be Malerei [painting].' Hans K Roethel & Jean K Benjamin, Kandinsky (1979)
Malerei: Painting As Object investigates painting, as a process, its guises and paint as a substance. Each artist shares a love of material and the qualities of âthing-ness', whether oozing oil paint, found objects, performance or jesmonite, yet avoids slavishness to the visceral by embodying and appropriating particular areas of painting's history, revealing a painterly investigation of the modernist concern âobjecthood', postmodern eclecticism and the post-production trend of continuous re-working.
A nod to Michael Fried and his essay Art and Objecthood would be appropriate here, however, the artists begin by examining a much earlier concept, Manet's âpicture-object'. Michel Foucault stated, âAnd Manet reinvents (or perhaps invents) the picture-object, the picture as materialityâ¦ this reinsertion of the materiality of the canvas in that which is representedâ¦' Manet's were effectively the first modernist paintings, simply by their honest declaration of painted surfaces using shallow picture depth, large areas of flat blocked-in colour and repetition of verticals and horizontals in composition that reaffirm his canvases axes, consequently drawing the viewers' attention to the materiality of the work and it's âobjectness'.
Harding, Bodman and Gale use paint as a sculptural material in their weighty/lush surfaces while Bowker-Jones almost paints with sculpture, in her colourful jesmonite free-standing compositions. Barlow, Edwards, Merrick, Hartley and Baker's work realise the power of materials emphasising colour, texture, volume, the presence of a structure, the space around it and the relationship of the viewer to the structure and its environment. Polanzsky and Wilson accept a cross-fertilization that is imperative for ever-evolving heterogeneous practices while revealing their personal efforts to redefine painting through performance and kinetic sculpture.
The artists of Malerei: Painting As Object therefore invite you to experience the expanded field of painting and examine their painting-objects, thingness, objecthood, theatre and appropriative nature.
Malerei: Painting as Object will also be at: The NewBridge Project Space,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AW, 21 April 26 May 2012.