This September, Freelands Foundation gallery presents Teaching Painting: Fully Awake 5.6, a group exhibition featuring works by 30 contemporary British artists. This is the fifth iteration of Fully Awake, a cycle of exhibitions exploring inter-generational developments in contemporary British painting and fine art education. The exhibition invites 10 artists – all currently teaching in art institutions – to display works alongside their chosen mentors and students.
In process since 2017, Fully Awake is a six-part exhibition cycle curated by Ian Hartshorne and Sean Kaye. The initiative is spearheaded by Teaching Painting, an organisation established at the Manchester School of Art in 2015 aimed at investigating the teaching of contemporary painting practices within art schools. Initially presented at blip blip blip, Leeds, the series has since been displayed in institutions such as the Royal College of Art and the Edinburgh College of Art.
For each iteration of the exhibition cycle, the curators invite artists currently teaching at institutions to individually select a mentor and student, with whom they will go on to exhibit. Eschewing the thematic and theoretical categorisations of curating, this method seeks instead to offer viewers a unique opportunity to see works by teachers and their students in juxtaposition and explore how different generations of painters influence one another through teaching and learning.
Among the selected artists on view at Freelands Foundation gallery
is Brendan Fletcher, a University of Salford lecturer whose paintings infuse abstract icons with commercial logos to reflect the corporate and ephemeral nature of contemporary life. Fletcher has invited his mentor, Tim Allen, and student, Sarah Hardacre to exhibit together. The compositions of both Allen’s The Second Herald (2017) and Fletcher’s Homer’s Ghost (2019), incorporate fluid, intertwining brushstrokes that are anchored by chromatic, geometric forms. Whilst Hardacre departs from painting altogether with her paper collage, Pursuing the sun and avoiding the pitfalls of social responsibility (2019), the composition of her work demonstrates an astute study of geometric design that can be traced through, and back to the practices of Fletcher and Allen.
Teaching Painting: Fully Awake 5.6 developed out of ongoing conversations between Freelands Foundation and art schools on approaches to teaching painting. In the previous year, these discussions led to the opening of Look, a group exhibition of emerging painters from UK art schools, in the autumn of 2018. Teaching Painting: Fully Awake 5.6 is a natural continuation of Freelands Foundation’s aims of broadening public arts and culture education.
Exhibiting artists include:
Brendan Fletcher with Tim Allen and Sarah Hardacre
June Forster with Carolyn Wallace and Tom Voyce
Martin Fowler with Kevin Phillips and Hessian Sachs
Robert Holyhead with Sharon Hall and Michael Irwin
Celia Johnson with David Ferry and Natalie Ramus
Vincent Lavell with Mike Knowles and Jay Chesterman
Rebecca Sitar with Mali Morris and Susan Laughton
Mia Taylor with Tim Stoner and Grace Payne
Sally Taylor with Gerry Davies and Kirsty Boutle
Freya Wright with Nelson Diplexcito and Helen Sayer