Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Needle's Eye, New Court Gallery, Repton, Derbyshire

At New Court Gallery and Gallery No.1, Repton, Derbyshire
Curated by Ruth Solomons

Kim Baker
Louisa Chambers
Lisa McKendrick
Ben Walker

29th January-21st February 2013

The four artists presented here are all working with ideas of impossibility. Symbology, gesture, emotion and playfulness push each of their subject sources through the eye of a needle into works of vast connotation and visual richness.

Kim Baker's starting premise is that the magical beauty of an imagined garden is best interpreted instinctually. Organic forms act like a basic primal motive for the very human gestural processes which she employs. The original subject matter undergoes a kind of material and sensual transformation that transcends mere representation. Her approach is one of stopping to smell the roses, through purposeful and considered mark making intertwined with painterly accident.

Ben Walker's source material of the Holocaust and Nazism confounds an easy literal understanding due to its historical scale, weight, and overwhelming horror. Ben Walker's paintings strive to tell a bleak and emotional truth through the sparingly described surfaces of his coarse grained linen canvases. Abused bodies hollowed and shadowed from severe privations, and androgynous children barely discernible amid traces of abandoned landscapes, convey small details of the stark histories implied. It is through what is left out that the true meaning is understood.

Louisa Chambers paints impossible constructions of architectural and scientific authority imbued with dreamlike symbols and organic elements. She takes technology through the looking glass and transforms it into machines of our imagination. Louisa Chambers' paintings seem to offer ways through which to cope with a contemporary sense of conflict between our inner dream world and the daily imposition of robotic control on our lives.

Lisa McKendrick's paintings derive from a personal sense of psyche – intuitive symbology from an internal world of dreams and influenced by childhood memories of her Mexican heritage. Objects emptied of function crowd her paintings, unanchored against surreal luminous landscapes. Their clashing perspectives present opposing worlds existing at once: reality and illusion, the present and the past, the living and the dead.

Text by Ruth Solomons
Needle’s Eye is a touring exhibition previously shown at Transition Gallery, London and BayArt, Cardiff in 2012

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Collage Experiments

Non Stop Radio, 2013, mixed media, 16 x 16 cm

These small collage experiments are a way to gather shape ideas which can be used for the background of my paintings. I am using collage to break down the formal concerns in painting and to be playful with juxtaposing different shapes. 

Structure, 2013, mixed media, 12 x 18 cm

Frame, 2013, mixed media, 18 x 14 cm

Mask, 2013, mixed media, 14 x 20 cm

Mute, 2013, mixed media, 15 x 17 cm

Eye, 2013, mixed media, 13 x 13 cm

Figure 1, 2013, mixed media, 10 x 13 cm

Friday, 4 January 2013


Blivet, 2012, acrylic and oil on canvas, 25 x 30 cm

Mobile Transmitter, 2012, acrylic on oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm

The paintings here were shown in Flatland an exhibition I curated at the Blyth Gallery, Imperial College in London. These are a new series of works where I have been exploring how we perceive three dimensional forms in a two dimensional space. The shapes in the paintings are taken from doodles in my sketch book, optical illusions and etchings of geometric forms which originate from the 17th Century.

Perspective of the Regular Solids Version 1, 2012, acrylic and oil on canvas, 60 x 40 cm

In my previous paintings, more often than not, the structure or object is placed in a block colour background to propose a void and also to concentrate on the form itself. A horizontal line sits beneath the structure and grounds it in a space.

Zig-Zag, 2012, acrylic and oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm

Sound Reflector, 2012, acrylic and oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm

In Zig-Zag and Sound Reflector, I experimented with lines and shape to suggest other spaces behind the object. Playing with the idea of the flipping between the object and ground, I wanted the object to float just above the ground.