Vitalistic Fantasies

The title of this online 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.

Artists: Iain Andrews, Amanda Ansell, Karl Bielik, Day Bowman, Julian Brown, Deb Covell, Lucy Cox, Gordon Dalton, Pen Dalton, Natalie Dowse, Fiona Eastwood, Geraint Evans, Susan Gunn, Suzanne Holtom, Barbara Howey, Phil Illingworth, Bryan Lavelle, Paula MacArthur, Enzo Marra, Nicholas Middleton, Stephen Newton, Joe Packer, Stephen Palmer, Ruth Philo, Narbi Price, Freya Purdue, James Quin, Molly Thomson, Judith Tucker, Joanna Whittle and Sean Williams.

Curated by Paula MacArthur.
Catalogue Design by ID Projects.

The final exhibit of Dear Christine, conceived and curated by Fionn Wilson, takes place in London at Arthouse1, 2–29 February 2020.

‘A remarkable artistic tribute.’
–Craig Austin, Wales Arts Review

‘Christine is being reframed – about time.’
–Tanya Gold, The Daily Telegraph

‘I’d like to thank everyone who is paying tribute to my mother. She was a very brave woman. Thank you.’
–Seymour Platt, son of Christine Keeler

‘The story of how the life of a working-class teenage girl was destroyed in order to absolve the establishment is a story which never loses its shock and poignancy.’
–Julie Burchill, Spiked Online

Exhibition dates: 2–29 February 2020.
Exhibition opening hours: Thursday–Sunday, 3pm–7pm; or by appointment.
Symposium: Saturday 22 February, 11am–7pm.

45 Grange Road

Exhibiting artists are: Natalie d’Arbeloff, Claudia Clare, Caroline Coon, Lucy Cox, Catherine Edmunds, Roxana Halls, Sadie Hennessy, Marguerite Horner, Barbara Howey, Shani Rhys James, Sal Jones, Jowonder, Sadie Lee, Cathy Lomax, Julia Maddison, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Wendy Nelson, Sarah Shaw, Stella Vine and Fionn Wilson.

Contributors include: David Astbury, Helen Billinghurst, James Birch, Julie Burchill, Sarah Caulfield, Katie Chatburn, Amanda Coe, Tanya Gold, Fine Cell Work, Tara Hanks, Charlotte Innes, Charlotte Metcalf, Kalliopi Minioudaki, Bo Gorzelak Pedersen and Seymour Platt.

Produced by Lucy Cox in conjunction with The Priseman Seabrook Collections, Painters Today is a series of podcasts dedicated to contemporary painting, which aims to promote and archive the working lives of artists in the United Kingdom.

Subscribe and listen now:
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Contemporary Masters from Britain: 80 British Painters of the 21st Century
~ China tour ~
1 December 2017 – 10 January 2018 | Tianjin Academy of Arts
29 – 16 November 2017 | Jiangsu Art Museum, Nanjing
10 – 27 October 2017 | Jiangsu Art and Craft Museum (Artall Gallery), Nanjing
7 July to 3 August 2017 | Yantai Art Museum

I am thrilled to be part of ‘Anything Goes?’ an exhibition of works by members of Contemporary British Painting selected by Anna McNay.

Location: Art Bermondsey Project Space, 183-185 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW.
Dates: 25 July – 5 August. Times: Monday by appointment, Tuesday – Saturday 11am-6pm. Closed Sundays.
Private View: Wednesday 26 July 6-9pm.

See the PDF (above) for further details.

Delighted to be taking part in Contemporary Masters from Britain: 80 British Painters of the 21st Century. Between the 7th July and 30th December 2017, 80 Contemporary British Paintings will go on display in four Chinese art museums for the very first time.
Locations: Yantai Art Museum, Artall Gallery, Nanjing, Jiangsu Art Gallery, Nanjing and Tianjin Academy of Fine Art.

“Within the field the multitude of “isms” which previously made up the landscape of 20th century art have instead been replaced by the one big “ism” of the 21st century, “individualism”. In this context we may begin to think of and experience paintings not as works of art produced from the hands of specifically female or male artists, but from a group of individuals; unique, talented and united by the common bonds of time and place and a desire to connect to the elusive experience of what it is to be human. In exhibiting their work, we create international dialogue and debate between ourselves and other cultures. This is not the art of globalisation, but is instead an art of internationalism, which defines itself as the free and open exchange of ideas between all peoples for the common good.”
Read the full exhibition essay by Robert Priseman here:

Many thanks to Robert Priseman, Simon Carter, and Contemporary British Painting.

Colour: A Kind of Bliss – feature in M & F magazine (May 2017.)

Colour: A Kind of Bliss exhibition catalogue now available. For purchasing enquires, please contact me.
Read in full here:
Catalogue designed by Natalie Dowse.

Introductory text written by Lucy Cox and Freya Purdue:

“Colour is a kind of bliss . . . like a closing eyelid . . . a tiny fainting spell.”
– Roland Barthes

Colour: A Kind of Bliss brings together six British painters concerned with different approaches to the use of intense energy and luminous qualities of colour. Through varying densities of paint and chroma, saturation and de-saturation, their paintings realise direct emotive forms resulting in both subtly and vibrancy. Painting for these artists working in the field of abstraction/non-figuration is a synthesis of ideas, drawing and colour.

In the vast expanding digital world, we have become entranced by momentary glimpses of virtual light and colour, unable to arrest or capture fast moving, subliminal and evanescent experiences. This relationship has become a new condition for the human spirit, perhaps a kind of bliss in its own right, somewhat disconnected from nature. The screen distraction separates us from the power of colour in the natural world and our instinctive awareness and sensibilities of perception; encountering fleeting images of light is not the same as experiencing the contemplation of colour in the physical world. This polarity is conveyed in a number of ways.

Some artists express the meeting and departure between virtual and physical spaces, and the playful possibilities of optical illusion; others retreat into memories, music or philosophical and mystical thought, occasionally slipping back into physicality and the processes of seeing and understanding. All of these concerns embody colour as a kind of bliss, a never-ending kaleidoscope for both the painter and the viewer.

“Colour . . . is a kind of bliss . . . like a closing eyelid, a tiny fainting spell.”
~ Roland Barthes

Forthcoming exhibition April – June 2017:
‘Colour: A Kind of Bliss’ curated by Lucy Cox and Freya Purdue.
The Crypt Marylebone (London) NW1 5LT.

Julian Brown
Lucy Cox
Jeff Dellow
David Manley
Andy Parkinson
Freya Purdue

~ Further details coming soon ~

“Painters in A Kind of Bliss use colour in formal, mysterious, atmospheric and poetic ways, fascinated by colour combinations and the possibilities of optical emotion offered to us both in nature and light. Through the use of paint and its sensitive potentialities, abstract virtual and physical spaces combine in formal and symbolic elements, juxtaposed and tantalising to the retina. Colours slip between concerns and subjects, every experience is euphoric whether fleeting or scrutinised, a never-ending kaleidoscope for both the painter and the viewer.” – Lucy Cox and Freya Purdue (2016.)

Many thanks to Simon Burton, Wendy Saunders and The Advisory Board for excepting the proposal and St Marylebone Parish Church for supporting Contemporary British Painting.

Contemporary British Painting profile now online.

Extract from the website:
Established in 2013 by Robert Priseman in partnership with Simon Carter, Contemporary British Painting seeks to explore and promote current trends in British painting through group exhibitions, talks, publications, an art prize and the donation of paintings to art museums.

We are currently working with Westminster Art Library on a series of monthly reading groups held on the first Thursday of each month, a new three museum annual prize just for painters and a programme of intimate group shows which explore ideas around the relevance of painting in the digital age at the crypt, St. Marylebone (just a 4 min walk from Baker St. tube). St. Marylebone is where Lord Byron was baptised, as well as being the burial place for George Stubbs and Allan Ramsey, setting for one of Hogarth’s ‘Rakes Progress’ paintings and on permanent display is a painting by former President of the Royal Academy Benjamin West (1738-1820).

Our members represent some of the most exciting emerging and award winning painting in the UK today and include European Sovereign Painters Prize winner Susan Gunn, Pollock-Krasner awardee Kelly Jayne, East London Painting Prize winner Nathan Eastwood, John Moores Prize winner Nicholas Middleton, British Academy awardee James Quin, Birtle Prize winner Simon Burton, Venice Biennale exhibitors Marguerite Horner and Phil Illingworth and Griffin Prize exhibitor Matthew Krishanu.

Many thanks to Robert Priseman, The Advisory Group and photographer Douglas Atfield.
For full details please visit:
Follow CBP on Twitter: @paintbritain