Models and Materialities: Confabulation and the Contemporary Still life
‘Models and Materialities’ is the third in a series of curatorial projects undertaken by Frances Woodley as part of her doctoral research at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. The first of these exhibitions was All Coherence Gone? Historical Currents in Contemporary Still Life (Bay Art Gallery, Cardiff Sep 2014), the second, Still Life: Ambiguous Practices (Aberystwyth University, School of Art gallery. April 2015).
This exhibition considers how contemporary painters approach still life through model making and materiality. Contemporary still life at its most dynamic is always of its own time yet remains connected to a particular tradition of representation that goes back to sixteenth century Northern Europe. What makes this exhibition distinctive is the light it throws on the unusual ways in which certain contemporary painters realize the objects of their still life, either prior to, or during, the course of painting. For example, constructing models and maquettes or staging the seemingly non-descript can provide points of departure for some artists whilst for others it is alchemical processing, prospecting and playing with materiality that throws up the unforeseen and never-seen-before objects of their still lifes.
These paintings of unnamable and reconfigured things, defamiliarized objects in unfamiliar contexts, and objects generated out of the process of painting itself appear to be a particular feature of contemporary British painting of still life. This exhibition explores a playfulness and unpredictability in a practice that tinkers with conventions and ambiguates tradition with variously absurd, pathetic or melancholic irony. Stuff and objects are insufficient here; these paintings are concerned with newly invented things driven by openness to tradition, playfulness with process, a contemporary world view, and imagination less loose.
Artists exhibiting include: Jonny Green, Clare Chapman, G.L. Brierley, Alex Hanna, Chris Nurse, Peter Jones, Tim Dodds, Laura Smith, Timothy Hon Hung Lee and Frances Woodley.The exhibition is supported by an online catalogue including essays, conversation and correspondence with the artists, and illustrations.
image: Pert. G.L Brierley (detail)