Here I am with my friend the artist Julie Fountain visiting Olha Prymaak's studio.
We had a great chat about our work, ideas and future projects.
Here I am with my friend the artist Julie Fountain visiting Olha Prymaak's studio.
We had a great chat about our work, ideas and future projects.
Paintings by Alexandra Baraitser, Kate Palmer, Julie Fountain and Olha Pryymak
Curated by Alexandra Baraitser
A painting is finished only if it is painted with extraordinary sensitivity, with brushwork that enhances intimacy and intensity. Only then can the viewer truly contemplate it. And standing there in front of it in a quiet gallery, we are both looking and listening. The exhibition “The Sound of Silence” brings together four artists who use paint and mark making techniques to recreate two dimensional noiseless energy.
In “Silence in the Age of Noise”, Erling Kagge makes us aware of how silence can only be experienced when we shut out the noise of contemporary life. Experiencing painting in this exhibition might help us to tune out of the din and engage with the silence these artists create. Through the process of painting they provide different experiences of ‘pause’ that enable us to think and focus when viewing the artwork. Painting is about both silence itself and creating silence.
Rembrant's self portrait (1669) was made at the end of his life when he was 63 years old. The artist paints his own face with thick layers but is surrounded by darker thinly applied paint. The darkness reflects the old man's mood as he contemplates his own demise and it seems he has nothing left to say
The artists in this exhibition apply similar techniques to imbue the image with a symbolic dimension that speaks to the moment of having nothing left to say, when words and sounds fall silent. Pryymak, for example, executes dramatically lit canvases depicting figures full of emotion. Words, sounds and songs are part of the painting to help Pryymak show how light creates silence and this provides a springboard to further ideas.
Palmer’s series of work Sluff was made during a residency at a disused isolated restaurant in the Alps. Sluff is the loose snow that is dislodged and falls soundlessly around you during a steep descent on skis or a snowboard. Work made there was inspired by the multiple traces of tracks descending in the snow, emerging out of a lived and embodied experience of silence. Baraitser's interiors infer an emotional absence. Her iconic frozen-in-time scenes allow a human presence, but the characters are speechless and isolated. She is interested in the relationship between the figure and the space around them, and the silences that this relationship produces. Julie Fountain is a painter who works primarily on paper. The pieces are painstakingly constructed over a period of time and are solicitous works. They are neither vibrant or non-resonant but are concerned with friezing the film and capturing the moment in time.
The paintings in the show The Sound of Silence raise the question of whether painting has a voice. Maybe it does, but what is certain is that painting has the ability to touch on subjects that bring us to a psychological and material space where we can experience silence. As Ansel Krut writes “painting touches on the nature of silence, on distance and on exclusion. But most importantly, it touches on the privileges of looking.”
Our central London exhibition Desktop was a success! We received lots of positive feedback!!
DESKTOP - artists have used the office desk as their muse - exhibiting the finished work in the office space
ARTISTS: Alexandra Baraitser/Roland Hicks/Kasper Pincis/Sirpa Pajunen-Moghissi/Ekkehard Altenburger
EXHIBITION: 25 - 26 January 2017 at THE OFFICE GROUP, 91 Wimpole Street, Marylebone, London W1
An assemblage of computer, pens, books, paper weights, elastic bands and blue tac, visible on a desk, establish the possibility of “work” within the domestic sphere. Yet these same mini-exhibitions of material objects appear oddly domestic, or personal when clustered on the desks of office spaces, providing an echo of the mundanity of everyday life within the increasingly corporatized spaces of work. Indeed, the word desktop, used to describe the computer interface, often uses icons that are visual representations of these material objects, cut free from their situatedness in either home or work.
The artists in this exhibition use the desktop as a starting point for explorations of the transitions between work and everyday spaces, and between virtual and imaginary spaces. The desktop has the ability to transport us from the domestic to the public, from the actual physical world, to worlds of pure imagination, such as the augmented reality of cyberspace. The exhibition is a study of these complex processes of migration and reality.
Roland Hicks’ artwork includes paintings, sculpture and trompe l’oeil reliefs which scrutinise the overlooked items of our daily lives. The pieces on show in ‘Desktop’ examine items of stationery turned into spontaneous sculptures, evidence of a minimal creative gesture. These intuitive creative acts, hastily assembled, are slowly and painstakingly recreated under Hicks’ hand, amplifying even the smallest of gestures and making us reconsider the mundane material that surrounds us. Rubber bands, push-pins, blu-tack and pieces of tape acquire an intriguing presence as he builds a tense relationship between figuration and abstraction. His works possess an inherent sense of absurdity as to why someone would assemble such compositions and it continues to question the point at which something becomes ‘Art’. Hicks playfully distorts where his creative process begins and ends; whether it is through the original assemblage, the painting process or the hand sculpted re-creation. Concerned with both the beautiful and banal, his work is infused with dualities; it is earnest yet playful, abstract and at once figurative, both simulated and authentic.
Sirpa is interested in exploring a mix of various media and materials. Layering them becomes a focus and part of the concept. Sometimes she uses elements originating from wood cuts carved over 30 years ago by her late mother the artist Seija Guttormsen . She uses photography ether found in old newspapers or that she has taken herself. Her artworks are created through multiple layering and by a process of deconstruction and arrangement. The final image combines an exploration of a range of materials (paints are bought from both art shops and DIY shops), with an investigation of the connections and associations of the visual history, whether aquired or inherited.
Baraitser's work pays homage to the greatest designs of the twentieth century. Her recent paintings are a series based on Copenhagen's fashionable “Illums Bolighus” department store, the kind of shop where people go for retail therapy or more often to simply imagine themselves living in their dream home. The spaces are inviting - the bright lighting sales floor is an attractive place that is flooded with warmth, hovering between shop, home and a giant dolls house. For DESKTOP she has painted a designer lamp surrounded by towers of books. This, at the end of an era of western civilisation, is specific to the contemporary relationship we have with places we call home and spaces we inhabit.
The sculptor Ekkehard Altenburger grew up on a farm at the Swiss / German border, and is based in the UK since 1995. He studied sculpture - first at Bremen's Hochschule fuer Kuenste and later at Edinburgh College of art. He finished his studies in 1999 with an MA from Chelsea College of art in London. Prior to his academic studies, he worked as master mason at the Gothic Cathedral of Schwabisch Gmuend in South Germany. Architecture has always influenced his work, which was the main reason for moving to London, to develop a practice very much inspired by the city that constantly inspires, challenges and informs his work. Meeting and filming the then 94 year old architect Oscar Niemeyer in 2001 in his Office at the Copacabana left a lasting influence. His work explores the physical balance of the built environment, using architectural references as well as sculptural volumes of physical material. This balance is also represented in the relationship between form and surface of a sculpture. Altenburger often uses texture and colour to manipulate surfaces, adding a further layer of information to a sculptural form.Altenburger usually works in heavy materials, mainly steel and stone. More recently he has developed prints and drawings in paper, which appear as assembled reliefs. Many of his works are in the public domain, where he developed site-specific works for both private and public clients. Due to the scale of his works, Altenburger regularly works with quarries and Granite / Marble factories throughout Europe.
Kasper studied his BA in Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2001-4, and Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools, 2004-7. He lives and works in London, and is represented by dalla Rosa in London and Aanant & Zoo in Berlin.
Recently my work has become more and more focused on a process that achieves the maximum effect from the most economical, if repetitive, of means. Originally my work was interested in the aesthetics of the vicarious experience of 'exploration' with research conducted via library books, slide shows and borrowed narratives from episodes such as the ascent of Everest or the Kon Tiki expedition. It seems to have flipped now from images of the heroic, underscored by the domestic and mundane, to an almost heroic performance of that mundane and bureaucratic process- typing the letter 'o' almost two million times on a typewriter or photocopying every page of the encyclopedia onto one sheet of paper.
I am pleased to announce that my exhibition Scandinavia: A Celebration of the Nordic Province will be exhibited at the The Willesden Green Library Gallery . I am going to be showing my latest work.
The gallery's press release says:
"The exhibition Scandinavia: A Celebration of the Nordic Province, curated by Alexandra Baraitser, takes a closer look at Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. These sparsely populated nordic lands with dense forests and dark winters add to the region's strong sense of individuality and unique strength of character. The work in this exhibition is suffused with the landscape of the region - as well as with its unusual and iconic design history.
Jan Svenungsson presents 66 drawings of Scandinavia titled Psycho-Mapping Scandinavia - an impressive three metre installation of Scandinavian maps. This is the first artwork you see as you enter the gallery. Psycho-Mapping Scandinavia has been exhibited a number of times in the form of either high quality photocopies of the originals, or digital printouts.
At the centre there is a screening of Kaamos (Katie Goodwin, 2015), a film shot in 16mm in two Finnish locations: the first part whilst Goodwin was artist in residence on the 18th century fortress island of Suomenlinna near Helsinki in the south and the second part when the artist travelled to Northernmost Lapland to dwell in darkness and experience Kaamos (the polar night), where the sun does not rise for two months. Canister A/B/C are a photographic series where Goodwin installed pinhole cameras to record the sun's movements over a period of weeks when on Suomenlinna. This was for Helsinki artist Traja Trygg's solargraphy project. The residency was funded by the Australian Council for the Arts and British Council's International Development Fund.
Sirpa Pajunen-Moghissi has installed a collection of small paintings that explore woodcuts by her late mother Seija Guttormsen, also a Scandinavian artist, and carved over thirty years ago. Pajunen-Moghissi employs the technique of collaging and layering multiple fragments and through the process of deconstruction and rearranging, she creates her own images.
Sirpa Pajunen-Moghissi Reasons for a Tree Series, 2016
Alexandra Baraitser's large canvases pay homage to the greatest Scandinavian Design of the twentieth century. Baraitser's most recent works have focused on the lighting designs of Danish designer Poul Henningsen (1894 - 1967 ) who worked with the Danish manufacturer Louis Poulsen. They are still popular today and by painting them, Baraitser invites discussion of the relationship between “high art” abstraction and contemporary design.
Alexandra Baraitser, Artichoke Lamp, Oil on Canvas, 63x63cm 2007
This fantastic multimedia exhibition utilises a full range of mediums including film, solargraphs, digital printmaking, installation and painting – giving the show a multi-dimensional interpretation of this fascinating group of countries."
The exhibition at The Library at Willesden Green, London April 2016 will include some of my latest Scandi inspired paintings. More information at www.brent.gov.uk/lwg
Above: "Psycho-Mapping Scandinavia" drawing No.1 by Jan Svenungsson from a series of 66 drawings in black ink on paper, each 42x29,7 cm, 1995. An animation of all 66 images is available at http://www.jansvenungsson.com//images2/vlgifan.html .
Below: A still from the film Kaamos, by Katie Goodwin, 2015
I am pleased to be showing my work at APT Gallery this month.
The show runs until Sunday 25th October 2015
Curated by Alexandra Baraitser and Julie Fountain PV 15th October 6 - 8pm
The physical process of wandering enables us to draw in information as we move from site to site. However The Places We Go is as much about looking inward (searching what we conceptualise as a “space within”) as looking outward, as the borders between material space and internal space are often blurred. One of the ways a painter learns about life is to explore it: the artists in this exhibition eloquently capture the moment of returning to the start and finding something new in the familiar.
This exhibition of paintings brings together a wide range of work focusing on the particularities of place, whether unknown or known, that are available in human experience.
THE PLACE WE GO 15 October - 25 October 2015 PV 6-8 15 October
Günther Herbst / Dan Hays / Julie Fountain / Alexandra Baraitser / Clio Lloyd-Jacob / Stephanie Kingston
Open 12 - 5 Thur - Sun APT Gallery, Harold Wharf, 6 Creekside, Deptford, London, SE8 4SA
Upcoming: The Places We Go, 15th - 25th October, 2015, APT Gallery, London
An exhibition of paintings by Alexandra Baraitser, Dan Hays, Julie Fountain, Clio Lloyd-Jacob, Stephanie Kingston, Günther Herbst
Curated by Alexandra Baraitser and Julie Fountain
The exhibition Human Traces on the Urban Landscape was at Clare Hall, Herschel Road, Cambridge, CB3 9AL. Human Traces on the Urban Landscape, (co-curated with Julie Fountain), was first shown at STOUR Space, Hackney Wick in 2013. The artists: Rosie Snell, Günther Herbst and myself Alexandra Baraitser.
The city can be a lonely place, but the tracks left behind form shadows and echoes that are both haunting and inspirational. The 21st century urban space is both riotous and socially complex - a rich layering of networks, multi-racial and political - and yet it can appear empty. The painters Herbst, Baraitser and Snell - through a language both abstract and figurative, leave traces and clues for us to discover and mysteries to solve. In his book on Howard Hodgkin, Andrew Graham Dixon writes how a picture talks of the “human presence” and“remembering somebody in their absence”. Similarly, a focus on absence and presence is provided in this exhibition.
Paintings by Baraitser at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge March 2015
I have been lucky enough to be asked to be Nord's artist in residence for November and December 2014. I will be making work on site and giving talks to the public.