About the Exhibition
Curated by Francesca Flowers and Charles Williams, __Surface is a group show, which draws attention to conceptions of the surface through work by:
“The horror of the image is in the lie and the truth of it; it looks like life but it is just the surface.
“Painters talk about ‘the surface’ all the time, it’s a cliche. The horror of the image is in the lie and the truth of it: it looks like life but it is just the surface. I remember as a seventeen year old looking at Picasso’s classical period Woman In A Chemise, trying to find the ‘real’ painting under its skin – not the underdrawing but the real painting. This almost uncanny feeling has stayed with me. It’s as if the surface of the painting conceals something else.
Of course it does: the working out of the painting, both real and conceptual. It also conceals the layers of physical preparation, priming, sizing, the canvas itself. Is there such a thing as a ‘beautiful surface’, distinct from the colour, the composition and so on? A beautiful texture? It seems far-fetched to me. A surface must be the result of the activity of the making of the painting, it’s a by-product of the making of the work.
Recently I have been looking at painters whose work seems to operate with three kinds of space; the two dimensional space of the surface, one form butted up against another, as well as a shallow space, made by putting colours in similar tones together, crisp depth denied by seemingly random smudges, in the paint, and a yet further space which might be a notional space – the deep space of a sky, for example, indicated by figures and forms, or an implied void against which forms play. It’s a volatile space, made by the churned up signifiers of structure, form, mimesis”
Charles Williams 2015