Friday, 27 May 2011

Saatchi Magazine Interview: Phoebe Unwin

(Originally published in Saatchi Online Magazine)

Phoebe Unwin is an artist who revels in the use of paint, in all its tones, textures and applications. Her paintings take as their subjects the everyday familiar (bananas, a key, a man holding flowers) which she chooses to depict from recollection and imagination rather than observation from life or photographs. Then what happens when she hits the canvas is the conjuring of a world of expressive colour and mark marking, a remembered reality swathed in magical colour combinations, shapes, patterns and textures that render the world we know afresh. Such is the appeal of her work that Unwin has recently featured in both the Saatchi Gallery’s Newspeak and the Hayward Gallery’s British Art Show as well as staging a solo exhibition at Wilkinson Gallery. In July Unwin hosts a talk at Core Gallery in Deptford, but in the meantime she took some time out to talk about her practice and the process behind her continually evolving, highly regarded body of work.

You have some sketchbooks here, how do you use them?
PU: They’re somewhere where I start to work out particular combinations of form, colour, mark. Some of the images are completely abstract, although they never are completely abstract in my paintings. Then some of them are much more recognizable images. They all live together here. There might be an element of say a page of an idea that I then develop into a painting, and that might be a week later or two years later. The basis of the work is a combined approach in a way, it’s very intuitive at the beginning and then the formal qualities, especially in the process of making the painting become very important. 

It’s a reference tool, storage for your ideas.
PU: Yes, it’s very much a reference tool in that it’s somewhere to refer to that feels really close to first instinct. But it’s a longer process until it becomes a painting, there are other things that come into play, because the paintings for instance are all different scales, whereas these books are always the same size.

Another thing about working in the books is that I use a lot of different papers and a lot of different materials and those elements also get translated into the paintings in the sense that I use many different types of materials, I’m not working just with oil or acrylic, there’s a whole range. One of the main reasons for this is really the qualities of colour, because I feel that a colour in a particular paint will be different in another paint, the difference between a spray-paint mark and the colour and maybe the opaqueness of that colour in spray-paint is different to oil paint.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

New writing for FAD: Nathan Cash Davidson at Hannah Barry Gallery

I'm now Moving Image Editor at FAD - - and here's my first review...

Nathan Cash Davidson has youth on his side and his energetic vaulting from oil painting to poetry via rap and now video installation by way of Renaissance painting, Alan Sugar, mythology and YouTube (to name a few influences) is, frankly, dazzling. He garnered a lot of favourable attention recently for mounting a solo painting show at Parasol Unit aged only 22, and is now at Hannah Barry Gallery with his latest video installation, Feather That Boa An Email.

In a darkened cinema space in the gallery’s Bond Street branch, Cash Davidson screens 24 of his YouTube mash ups – short films in which he’s taken video footage freely available on the site then cut it, looped it, stretched it, jammed it, married it to a completely different soundtrack and generally riffed with it before feeding it back into the site via his own channel... (read more)

Monday, 16 May 2011

New writing for Aesthetica: review of Barbara Kruger's The Globe Shrinks at Sprüth Magers

There’s a game children play when they want to enrage their siblings; that of repeating verbatim everything the other says. Maintained to a suitably relentless level, this method of throwing someone’s utterances straight back in their face is passive-aggression at its most potent, with humiliating and infuriating results.

Over the course of her career as a visual artist, Barbara Kruger has enacted something akin to this in her work, drawing on the crisp imagery and pithy language from her days on magazine editorial to pitch consumerism, sexism and other unsavoury cultural mores right back at the viewer. ut intriguingly, rather than provoking the wrath that childish repeating games guarantee, Kruger has managed to maintain her place as part of the mainstream that she skewers. Her striking monochrome images, dashed with red and bearing deadpan slogans like ‘I shop therefore I am’ and ‘Buy me I’ll change your life’ are so slick she even sold them to Selfridges as advertising... (read more)

Follow the Aesthetica Magazine blog at

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dazed Digital Interview: Maxime Angel at Centre for Recent Drawing

In the entrance to her upcoming solo show, artist Maxime Angel is creating a walk-in art work: a hand drawn pencil mural across flattened cardboard boxes covering the walls from floor to ceiling that will, by the time the show officially opens, be a fully immersive introduction to her intensely beautiful work. Fascinated by sexuality and mortality, Angel is not afraid of divulging the personal in her work and has cultivated a body of drawings that are inscribed with her life, both in terms of content and the way in which they bear imprints of the artist’s presence... (read interview)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...