painting concepts

sean branagan, cath ferguson,
ian johnson and tim renshaw
dec 2nd – jan 29th 2006

'Painting Concepts' presents diverse practices and theories for making paintings. Ian Johnson exchanges canvas for polished aluminium and to this surface he applies vinyl stickers instead of paint. Sean Branagan incorporates CCTV and mirrors to recruit the viewer as the subject of his ‘paintings’. Cath Ferguson and Tim Renshaw use paint on canvas to explore how paintings begin, proceed and culminate.

Sean Branagan uses reflection to propose an existence ‘behind and through the wall’. The viewer locates his/herself within this ‘new world’ where ambiguities of form, reality and perception are presented. The live- CCTV piece develops this idea further by projecting live action from the room into the work. The viewer unavoidably moves within the piece and is exploited as a participant. Painted interventions across the surfaces are dictated partly by the environment. The viewer’s presence or absence is integral to the work’s structure and existence, denoting an extension into performance.

Ian Johnson is developing a series of work called ‘Reflective Painting’. The piece ‘16 bit Colourfield’ is the first in this series to exploit the formal to promote the conceptual. A candid approach to formal relationships and organisational features creates a homogenous, visual experience. This experience is compounded when the viewer is confronted by his/her own reflection, glimpsed behind the wall of stickers. Ian is interested in the sense this gives of confinement, as though a barrier exists between the real world and the reflected one.

Cath Ferguson's paintings emerge out of the tension between two different tendencies: on the one hand towards matters of fact – the literal materials and techniques of fabrication - and on the other towards the illusory and spatial. This tension could be seen as an ultimately irresolvable contradiction, but it still has to be faced - materiality is a necessary vehicle for the illusory and all its rewards.

This contradiction underpins the way the work is made and perceived. Mindfully conventional processes (preparation of the surface, application of paint) lead to concrete manifestations; then ‘substance’ gives rise to visions of difference. Less descriptive, more esoteric observations can be generated from the legible; these observations can occur to the artist, as the work progresses and to the viewer on contemplation of the finished piece.

In place of the purposes and narratives of use, that established conventions imply, the aim is that the paintings develop in a direction away from the recognisable and its clichés, towards the creation of a materiality that makes the work singular.

Tim Renshaw’s paintings have a coherence arising from the successful combination of intrinsic and extrinsic influences on the process of ‘making’. Negotiations inside this partnership of influences have contributed to the production of a visual syntax that governs final outcomes.

Extrinsic influences exist through the appropriation of architectural forms, and initially, relatively predictable structures and compositions assume their place within a preconceived scheme of work. However, less predictable (yet logical) developments accumulate as the work proceeds and more complex, intrinsic influences take over. Different paintings can use the same language, but have distinctly different ‘life histories’ that give them separate identities.

For more information please contact:
Della Gooden