Macaulay and Mitchell, both painters, “met” on Twitter in 2011; a turning point in how they approached social media, balancing the personal with the professional. Macaulay invited Mitchell to exhibit in Meditations, a group painting show held in his Coventry studio. A familiar concept: a painting show organised by painters; what was perhaps less usual and slightly thrilling, was that these painters had found each other via Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram. Meditations and subsequent exhibitions organised by Macaulay and Mitchell, were as much about connecting with a community of painters beyond the screen, as showing the physical paintings themselves.
Operating within the four walls of their solitary studio spaces, these online communities of painters use and refer to social media to identify and contribute to trends and modes of making in (almost) real time. Active users situate their practices and studio routines within contemporary culture, blurring the lines between art making and networking. Unlike the artist’s personal website, social media platforms have the power to reposition the artist’s ego. In the shadow of the collective aim, artists share ideas, inspiration and pictures of art, now. By exchanging this content online, artists are continually placing both their own work and that of their international peers, within a non-static context inside a broader network of multiple contexts, entirely free from the shackles of geographical boundaries.
By inviting two artists whom they “follow” online, to in turn, select another artist (and so on…), Macaulay and Mitchell reveal a sample of their extended online network of painters, offline. Whilst offering a fresh, physical perspective from which to further investigate and shift the contexts surrounding each artist’s work, Peer Review is also a chance to pause, for here there are no Like, Share or Retweet buttons, just paintings.
Artists in the exhibition include Liz Ainslie (Brooklyn, NY, USA), Ky Anderson (Brooklyn, NY, USA), Andrea Bergart (Queens, NY, USA), Lauren Collings (Brooklyn, NY, USA), Merike Estna (London, UK), Erin Lawlor (London, UK), Meg Lipke (Brooklyn, NY, USA), Jai Llewellyn (Falkirk, UK), Matthew Macaulay (Coventry, UK), Phoebe Mitchell (Glasgow, UK), Peter Shear (Bloomington, Indiana, USA), Tracy Thomason (Brooklyn, NY, USA).