Vitalistic Fantasies

2 Dec 2020 – 8 Dec 2020

Regular hours

Wed, 02 Dec
11:00 – 17:00
Thu, 03 Dec
11:00 – 17:00
Fri, 04 Dec
11:00 – 17:00
Sat, 05 Dec
11:00 – 17:00
Sun, 06 Dec
11:00 – 17:00
Mon, 07 Dec
11:00 – 17:00
Tue, 08 Dec
11:00 – 17:00

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The Cello Factory

London, United Kingdom

Event map

A Contemporary British Painting exhibition bringing a visual conversation to ideas discussed in Isabelle Graw's book 'The Love of Painting'.


Artists: Iain Andrews, Amanda Ansell, Karl Bielik, Day Bowman, Julian Brown, Ruth Calland, Deb Covell, Lucy Cox, Gordon Dalton, Pen Dalton, Sam Douglas, Natalie Dowse, Fiona Eastwood, Geraint Evans, Susan Gunn, Alex Hanna, Suzanne Holtom, Barbara Howey, Phil Illingworth, Linda Ingham, Bryan Lavelle, Kirsty O'Leary-Leeson, Paula MacArthur, David Manley, Enzo Marra, Nicholas Middleton, Paul Newman, Stephen Newton, Joe Packer, Stephen Palmer, Mandy Payne, Ruth Philo, Narbi Price, Freya Purdue, James Quin, Katherine Russell, Harvey Taylor, Molly Thomson, Judith Tucker, Joanna Whittle and Sean Williams.

Curated by Paula MacArthur.

The title of this exhibition is taken from the introduction of Isabelle Graw’s 2018 book, The Love of Painting in which she argues that aliveness of paintings is created not only through the specific ways in which painters personalise their paintings by the traces of activity on the resulting work, but also through the projections of the viewer onto the painting.

She writes: One key reason I call these fantasies “vitalistic” is because they imaginatively assume qualities of living beings such as subjectivity, liveliness, and animation for dead material. In a vitalistic fantasy, human attributes – like self-command, will, and energy – are projected onto lifeless material.

The resulting record of the painter’s activity, however energetic or quiet, is suggestive of the artist themselves, the viewer is compelled to project an imagined personality onto the work.

When describing their working process painters often talk about paintings ‘painting themselves’ or ‘leading the way’ in the same way that novelists describe their characters as writing their own narrative. As a work develops its personality evolves and the painter intuitively follows.

Members of Contemporary British Painting come together at the Cello Gallery, London, in an attempt to bring a visual conversation to Graw’s ideas and consider how her argument resonates within their own individual practices.

These painters present us with images onto which we project ourselves, they are storytellers, colourists, mark makers, fantasists and so are we.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an essay by Dr. Catrin Webster https://www.contemporarybritishpainting.com/vitalistic-fantasies-at-the-cello-factory/

Visits to the exhibition are bookable as 30 minute slots on Eventbrite, maximum of 6 people to comply with Covid19 rules. You will be able to meet and talk with one of the exhibiting artists whilst you are there.

What to expect? Toggle


Paula MacArthur

Paula MacArthur

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Stephen Newton

Joe Packer

Gordon Dalton

Sam Douglas

Ruth Calland

Nicholas Middleton

Paul Newman

Judith Tucker

Phil Illingworth

Karl Bielik

Iain Andrews

Bryan Lavelle

Geraint Evans

Stephen Palmer

Stephen Palmer

Susan Gunn

Susan Gunn

Narbi Price

Alex Hanna

Fiona Eastwood

Molly Thomson

Linda Ingham

Mandy Payne

Natalie Dowse

James Quinn

Lucy Cox

Julian Brown

Day Bowman

Joanna Whittle

Enzo Marra

Katherine Russell

Kirsty O'Leary-Leeson

Barbara Howey

Ruth Philo

Ruth Philo

David Manley

Pen Dalton

Paula MacArthur

Paula MacArthur

Harvey Taylor

Freya Purdue

Freya Purdue

Deb Covell

Sean Williams

Suzanne Holtom

Amanda Ansell


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