Project Ability is proud to present Strange quarks, an exhibition of paintings by Simon McAuley.
McAuley has worked with Project Ability in our Connect and ReConnect workshops since 2010. Very soon after his arrival in our studios, Simon was invited to be our Artist in Residence, and he has been an active and inspiring member of Project Ability ever since, both as an artist and volunteer.
The abstract paintings on exhibition clearly have an investigative root and above all else they appear to be about paint, and the manipulation of paint on a surface. Simon has a methodical approach to his practice, taking time to research and experiment thoroughly with each physical technique. Coming from a photographic background and discovering painting through photography, he relates the ideas of composition and the placement of objects in a landscape directly back to the compositions he creates with his paintings. Although pragmatic in his techniques and processes, in his most recent paintings McAuley leaves time at the end of his painting sessions to chance, mark making with paint, taking an ‘educated guess’ at what may work and following through regardless of the outcome. Once the work is finished he can decide if it is successful or not. There is no fear of making unsuccessful paintings, as this gives way to successful work, and knowing and studying the difference between the two is an important aspect to Simon’s working process.
"My painting practice absorbs some ideas from my photographic work. The two media differ and are often squashed together. I think that photography is better compared to literature, (in the broadest sense) than to painting. I like this idea as it leaves painting lacking with an insubstantial material leftover. For me this reduces paint and finds itself within my practice as something to elaborate into a basic form. Often via something random or unplanned.
There is some planning and process to what I do. Often I am left with paint at the end of a session. I use this paint to experiment and engage with the material in the absence of any critical or conceptual rigour. This end of session work is often the time I fully practice painting. These residual workings have seen a recent change in what I consider as successful. Some of this recent work still uses the idea of depth, space, gesture and abstraction although with new, uneasy orientation. They reference painters who I thought of as having no influence on my practice, yet are emerging now."
Simon’s refinement of the painting process through his own individual aesthetic and conceptual critique continually gives way to new and engaging work, and this exhibition showcases his most recent explorations.