Painting Playing the Game of… Painting
Painting Playing the Game of… Painting
Curated by Matthew Hearn
Be it through painterly marks photocopied, paint strewn surfaces photographed, fragments of imagery recycled or off cuts repurposed, Frankland and Lamb are unequivocally playing games with, painting. In their assemblages and composite montages there exists a constant tension between the paintings apparent two-dimensionality: between the perceptible depth in the image and the contrived flatness of a singular picture plane. Collage is unquestionably a means to an end within these works – within this ‘expanded field’ – but ultimately it is a process that literally makes the paintings.
For Peter Lamb, his means are foremost digital, his processes frequently mechanical. He has exchanged the symbolic substrate of canvas for the representative surface of “softimage’; emulsion is more often a (photographic) finish, rather than a (painterly) primer. Lamb’s paintings oscillate between two-dimensional renders and more complex assemblages of time and scale, juxtaposition and material, ready-made and hand-crafted marks. He has described his process as a way to keep making paintings: his practice as one of collapse and renewal.Made of both past and present participles Lamb’s paintings exist in the perfect tense: what has been done in and through the process(es) past is surpassed by the paintings present state and what the resultant paintings are doing, becoming. His paintings are therefore contingent but they are also a stepping-stone to making the next paintings.
Equally for Phil Frankland, painting is a conversation inflected upon itself; an internalised dialogue coming out of the studio; from catalogues and sketchpads; re-sampled throughthe photocopier, and later recycled from the scraps box. His paintings and collages are polymers in which he plunders, recoups and self-samples. In both the raw assemblages or the paintings which push towards a greater sense of resolve (if not finish), Frankland uses the processes of collage to confuse and distort, layer, cluster and blend. In each painting these sedimentary samples become both integral to and yet often camouflaged beneath subsequent strata of paint. As a process that is iterative, the evolution of paintings can be slow and circuitous, scale jumps, composite combinations reformat and re-align, and as elements or fractions there-of slip between different works there is a rhizomatic connectivity unifying the works.
For both Frankland and Lamb they have established a way of working that is generative, enduring and forever becoming. Equivocal to a moebius strip, their processes create entangled webs of self-reference and whilst this results in a traceable vocabulary of marks, motifs and abstracted imagery, the idea of the originating mark is lost, the sequence is disordered and we are unable to trace the process of evolution. Playful in their means, at one and the same time combinations of future histories and resurfacing pasts the work of both artists is also playful with ideas of what painting is and can be: what painting is (now) is what painting does (now) – in the long now.
The title references Jasper Johns much cited description of Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines as being, painting playing the game of sculpture.
Phil Frankland graduated from Newcastle University in 2014. He was selected for FloatArt, London, 2014. He has recently been accepted onto the Visual Arts programme at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts (KASK), Ghent
Peter Lamb lives and works in London. He graduated from the Camberwell School of Art in 1996. His recent solo exhibitions include Boxing Mirrors (2014), Boetzelaer|Nispen, Amsterdam; A PLACE THAT EXISTS, Laurent Delaye Gallery, London (2013) Parrot and Grasshopper on a Tree Trunk with No Handles (2012); Boetzelaer|Nispen, Amsterdam and has been included in group exhibitions such as RIFF/T, BALTIC39, Newcastle upon Tyne (2013); London Utd, Kling and Bang Galleri, Reykjavik (2013).
Matthew Hearn is a curator and writer based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Having originally studied Fine Art at Newcastle University (1999 – 2002) he has since taught at both Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. He has curated a number of large scale group exhibitions including unpainting \ / resurfacing (2015), UH Galleries, Hertfordshire, RIFF/T (2014), BALTIC’s Project Space, BALTIC39, Newcastle and Re-make/Re-model (2010), National Glass Centre, Sunderland.