UH Galleries opens its Autumn 2015 exhibition season with unpainting \ / resurfacing, a remarkable exploration of the process of painting which focusses on doing, undoing, layering and revealing in the work of seven UK-based contemporary painters. unpainting \ / resurfacing showcases new work by Daniel Davies, Sarah Dunn, Peter Lamb, Paul Merrick, Jost Münster, Alexis Teplin and Finbar Ward.
Examining abstract paintings and the art of bricolage - the process of creating work from diverse materials and concepts - the exhibition presents paintings not as inert objects but as reactive combinations of layers. Rather than focussing on the 'finished' work the paintings are in a constant state of flux, with 'work in progress' and 'process' regarded as ends in themselves.
The participating artists defy easy definition, and, like their predecessors throughout painting's long and varied history, they bring a very personal vocabulary of recurring marks, motifs and patterns to their work. Responsive to the onslaught of digital imagery, the cultural trends and behaviours, which assail us every day, the painters in unpainting \ / resurfacing are thoroughly rooted in contemporary experience.
Daniel Davies' paintings tile, repeat and reproduce. Critiquing superficial daily encounters with poor-quality images on the internet, Davies gives this source imagery renewed physical presence, layering the low-resolution images and embellishing them with his own hand-rendered language of gestural marks.
Sarah Dunn’s Flooded Margins reworks an existing sculpture, deconstructing a large architectural column into a series of floor based sculptures. Assembled from hundreds of pastel coloured panels, the abstract 'painted' surfaces are in fact used 'colour catcher' sheets processed through the mechanics of a washing machine.
Peter Lamb's paintings are based on a never-ending process of reworking images. Starting with photographs of his studio, he repeatedly reprints, rescales and repaints, creating an entangled web of self-references.
Paul Merrick's approach to painting draws together elements of the 'made' and the 'ready-made'. Incorporating materials like building supplies and furniture, Merrick will create a new floor based work assembled from reclaimed card tables. Scuffed, faded and varying in sizes, shapes and tones, these works offer pure expressions of materiality, surface and form.
Jost Münster un-paints existing work, reworking and working over the top of older paintings. By undoing their existing form, literally cutting them up into tiles or swatches, Münster creates new works, which retain traces of an 'original'. Developing this idea Münster now makes paintings exclusively for the purpose of reworking them.
With a strong relationship to sculpture and performance Alexis Teplin's practice is rooted in abstract painting. Inspired by art historical references ranging from Rococo to 20th-century avantgarde, her exuberant abstract works explore the history of painting and femininity.
Finbar Ward's stretchers and stray timbers are stacked, packed and compressed in forms and motifs that allude to the tradition of minimalist painting. Anxieties regarding the validity and status of painting have become a driving force in Ward's work, where he endeavours to keep us looking and subvert the 'deathlike' state of the 'finished' painting.
Curator and writer Matthew Hearn studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and since 2008 has been a part time lecturer contributing to their highly regarded undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. He has previously curated exhibitions at Globe and The National Glass Centre, Sunderland and worked on projects with the Laing Art Gallery, NGCA, VANE and Workplace. Collaborating with artists Thomas Whittle and Sebastian Trend, Matthew has most recently curated a two part exhibition, RIFF/T for BALTIC39.