Pigmental: Paintings by Karl Bielik

8 Sep 2017 – 3 Dec 2017

Event times

Monday to Saturday - 10am-5pm
Sunday - 10.30am-5pm
October to March - Closed on Sundays except during special events

Cost of entry

free entry

Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case

Rochester, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • A short walk from Rochester train station along Rochester High Street

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New paintings by Karl Bielik at Rochester Art Gallery. Curated by Matt Bray


Karl Bielik is a painter. He makes paintings.

He arrives at the studio and looks at the group of canvases he is working on and decides what his next move is. He prefers not to come with an agenda; no premeditation. His work is instinctive - an innate painted response to the incomplete canvases. He thinks in colour, shape and mark. When we stand in front of one of his works we are invited to consider them in the same way.

In a time when paintings are often considered for their narrative content or meaning, Karl Bielik offers us work that resists such short cuts to seeing and invites the viewer instead to look. Slowly. The work is physical and perhaps requires a physical response.

The work is both sensitive and serious. Loose oily wounds and thick emulsions offset light glazes and dribbles. When imagery becomes too suggestive it is corrupted and broken to prevent that slip into easy identification, and the end of looking. Everything is done to encourage a longer, more contemplative engagement between artwork and viewer. Take your time with each painting, let it stir you like a kind of visual music.

Karl has recently been selected for The John Moores Painting Prize, the RA Summer Show and the Contemporary British Painting Prize. Pigmental at Rochester Art Gallery features ‘Sunday’ - the painting selected for John Moores as well as other works created specifically for this exhibition.

Alongside Karl Bielik’s paintings we are showing a selection of handmade, editioned publications made by John Bentley of the Liver and Lights Scriptorium. 55 books in the last thirty four years, each one different in concept and form from the last, they chronicle and celebrate the ordinary people and things of London and its nearabouts: their stories, traditions and lives and humbly follow in the noble tradition of the Pamphleteer, the Ranter, and the Penny Balladeer.

Meet the artists at the opening reception of ‘Pigmental’ on Thursday, 7 September 6.30-8.30pm, no need to book, all welcome.

Saturday 25 November - Handmade books and fanzines: a free one day workshop 10.30 – 3.30pm
Working with artist publisher John Bently, participants will be given the opportunity to examine the artists extensive personal collection of rare books from 300 years of underground publishing history; from early 18th century pamphlets to chapbooks, rants, tracts, fanzines and low budget artists books. Participants will then be encouraged to produce their own books and zines whilst contributing to the production of a collaborative publication.
To book a free place please contact the Arts Team on 01634 338319. Suitable for adults and accompanied young people age 13+

Date and time details:
Friday, 8 September – Sunday, 3 December 2017 - normal opening hours. Saturday 25 November - Handmade books and fanzines: a free one day workshop 10.30 – 3.30pm

What to expect? Toggle


Matt Bray

Matt Bray

Exhibiting artists

Karl Bielik


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