Category: Artists

Agony and tenderness; the world of Daisy Parris

Benjamin Murphy – Firstly, why are you an artist?

Daisy Parris – I feel like it’s an inevitable part of my life. I’ve been obsessed with painting and drawing since I was 13 and always wanted to be like the local artists I knew. I live for painting. It excites and stimulates me and gets me through life and I’m working really hard to maintain it as my career and not have to go back to jobs that suck the soul out of me.

Benjamin Murphy – What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?

Daisy Parris – In a dream world I’d be making music or something but in reality I’d probably still be a pizza chef.

Benjamin Murphy – What do you think it is about your work that resonates with people?

Daisy Parris – I put a lot of sadness and agony and tenderness in my work and I think people can feel that and empathise with the paintings. I also use a lot of imagination which allows me to play around with familiar imagery and energy so maybe that’s how people get into the work. I think about colour and composition a lot so you can also just enjoy the work visually if you wanted without going deeper.

 

 

Benjamin Murphy – Do you think that your work is dependent upon this sadness and agony, and would it be as successful were they not present?

Daisy Parris – I think there’s a certain honesty it brings to the work which I am really interested in maintaining. The process of painting also helps me come to terms with things and using colour makes me really happy. I look back at my lighter, more playful work and it just feels empty now. I think my most successful work has come from somewhere dark but I’ve been productive and created something positive out of it. These are the paintings that stand their ground.

Benjamin Murphy – Yeah I think that is very readable in the work. Does this make you crave disorder, so as to keep making the work that this dark mindset facilitates?

Daisy Parris – I don’t think I’d ever crave disorder but it seems to just be present a lot. Whatever’s going on at the time I really believe that I have to be doing my best work of that moment y’know? Even if later in life it doesn’t seem as successful as other work, I know that at the time it would have excited me.

Benjamin Murphy – Yeah that makes sense. Are you attracted to the same kind of darkness when viewing work by others?

Daisy Parris – I think I’m drawn to it naturally and that tends to be the work that affects me most because it’s got someone’s soul in it. I love being affected and consumed by work. I love work that questions the world and educates people. I’m also really interested in comedy; which in itself is a coping mechanism for darkness; and I love funny art. I think there’s a place for everything Is there much comedy present in your work? I guess there’s some funny gestures involved. The drips I paint are quite funny even though they suggest horror or gore. I think they’re quite ironic or almost redundant – it’s like what’s the point of hand painting drips when I could just pour the paint down the canvas and it would be done in a fraction of the time. But anyway I like being in control of where the drip stops. Putting those structures in place in painting are quite funny I think cos then you have to commit to the task you’ve set yourself. At the same time you can reject all the rules you’ve set yourself and that’s where the fun is. And I like doing these little gestures with paint that seem really serious but are actually quite frivolous. The thick paint squiggles in boxes that I paint a lot are an example of this. Cos I’ve framed the stupid little gestures it’s given them a status.

Benjamin Murphy – Is this the same reason for the bold geometric frames you paint onto every canvas?

Daisy Parris – I love having something to hold the painting together and the frames are the device I use for that. As a painter it’s easy to get attached to certain motifs and devices and I don’t wanna be stuck doing the borders forever so I’m trying to use them as an after thought now and not rely on them so much.

 

Benjamin Murphy – Do you think it’s important as an artist to step outside your comfort zone and allow yourself to be a little uncomfortable?

Daisy Parris – Yeah absolutely otherwise I think your work would be stuck in the same old place forever. With risk comes interesting work and interesting experience.

Benjamin Murphy – What is your next risk?

Daisy Parris – I think my next risk is gonna be really investing in myself and my practice and allowing myself to experiment and not make safe work.

 

For more by Daisy see her website – daisyparris.com

 

For more interviews: 

A very personal conversation with Richie Culver about his life and work

Florence Hutchings in conversation about her solo show Seating Arrangement with us in 2018


Richie Culver – Making Bad Decisions – A Conversation with Benjamin Murphy

Benjamin Murphy – Firstly, why are you an artist?

Richie Culver – Because I was not prepared to do something I did not like for a living, or have someone tell me what to do. I have had some jobs I hated. Working in super markets, caravan sites, building sites, caravan factories, retail. That is that main reason I am an artist today. Fear of having to go back to doing something I hate. I could answer something poetic and meaningful. But this is the truth of it.

Richie Culver

Untitled, Acrylic & polycell on canvas, 200x160cm, 2019

BM – How did you go from working in a caravan site to exhibiting paintings?

RC – Luck, taking chances, moving around a lot, making mistakes, gaining loads of life stories that I could one day paint about. I took loads of photos many years ago. This gave me confidence creatively, I also learned about composition and colour pallets through photography, I always wanted to paint the way I took photos.

 

BM – Have you any plans for ever showing these photos?

RC – Ahh man. They are super dark.

They feel kind desperate now looking at them. I often come across them on my laptop when I’m going through images. I have really mixed emotions about them and that part of my life. Being a Dad now also make me want to hide them away. I would never want my Son to see those photos. I believe they are good photos, but I’m just not a photographer, it was just a vehicle to get me where I am today. My Schooling perhaps. Seeing Richard Billinghams work really affected me when I was younger and made me realise I could have a voice one day in the arts perhaps ? I related greatly to his Rays a laugh body of work in 1996.

 

BM – That’s an interesting connection, as he took that series with the intention of using them as references to make paintings from originally.

RC – Yes. I was gonna mention that.

 

BM – I saw him give a lecture once and whilst he was speaking I did this really bad drawing of him. After it was done I got him to sign it, he was very nonplussed by it.

Have these photographs informed your paintings in some way?

RC – Not really. It’s really difficult to link them to the way I work now. I hope that in 20 or 30 years time they may fit somewhere within the time line. They kind of do fit with my sculptural works. There is a certain denseness to the sculptures that echo the imagery of the Photos. I could see them together in a body of work. It’s really odd talking about them even, there’s a real vulnerability to me when they get brought up.

Richie Culver

Becky from the block, Cement & Synthetic hair, Dimensions variable, 2019

BM – Do you think that is because they more closely represent something that the paintings do not? I think it’s interesting that there is this great series that might never get seen, like some Henry Darger/ Vivian Meyer mashup.

RC – I think it’s just an age thing, meaning it takes me back to being in my early 20s. Or perhaps being honest about the way I schooled myself. It feels really Feral. My painting have that same language also. The textures and gestures are fast and sometimes messy.

Nothing ever sits right with me to be honest. I think that’s what I’m striving for. One day for everything to just fall in line or make sense. There’s a saying in football that at the end of the season, the good decisions and bad decisions you got should even out.

 

BM – So do you think bad decisions are necessary in art/ life?

I have tried my best to navigate my life Correctly and avoid mistakes. Naturally, I failed and made loads. I make less now.

Making bad decisions with a painting usually is a good thing. It can take a painting in a whole new direction from one mistake. Me and bad decisions in the studio are now great friends. I see mistakes as great moves and an opportunity to take the work in a new direction. If I make a mistake I always leave it. Even spelling mistakes.

In life on the other hand, a bad decision can make a difference in a negative way. Depending on how bad it is.

Richie Culver

Untitled, Acrylic on canvas , 50x50cm, 2019

BM – Yeah I’ve also made a lot of mistakes I think it’s necessary. An easy life rarely makes an interesting artist.

So what is the intention with your works, are you attempting to exorcise your demons, or to change the world?

RC – Neither. I’m still trying to realise my intentions.

Someone recently described my work as a little world or town where everyone is desperate and trying to rip each other off. I liked that analysis, when I working in the studio that is how it feels.

I paint autobiographically, fantasy moments pop in from time to time. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story and all that.

Like if Jeremy Kyle were to make a movie.

My work would be the script.

richie culver

Yoof, Cement, plastic & Acrylic , Dimensions variable, 2019

BM – Amazing. So do you paint for yourself, or do you paint for yourself or for the audience?

Definitely for myself.

I’m not sure how being an English artist is perceived in the world at large anymore. The country is in a bad way. I often think this affects us also as Artists with regards to curators and gallery’s in other Countries, Naturally. So I just stay in my lane and paint for myself.

 

BM – When I look at your work it makes me think of a dystopian 90s holiday at Butlins, authored by Chuck Palahniuk. Are your works intentionally a bit dystopian, or is that a reflection of your general outlook on life?

RC – I would not say I live in fear anymore, being a Dad I have had to learn leadership qualities, fast. We all have our fears, fear is a natural instinct for a human. It keeps us safe, as in know when or when not to react to a situation.

My Mother was a very protective Woman, really over baring. I was brought up thinking that the world is not a safe place, my Street is not a safe place. It has taken me years  to break the shackles of how I was raised. My mum was super loving but had no confidence in anything she did. I think that may have rubbed off on Me. Saying all this, Perhaps it is in my work then. It’s not intentional though.

 

For more interviews:

Lucas Price in conversation about his deeply personal video Body Body

Florence Hutchings in conversation about her solo show Seating Arrangement with us in 2018

 

For more by Richie Culver, see his website HERE


Third Fifteen Winners of our 2019 Open Call

Here are the first 15 winners of our 2019 Open Call. We had an incredibly difficult time whittling the 10,000 submissions down to just 45, but we got there in the end. Here are the first 15.

The below artists are in alphabetical order, and the works below aren’t necessarily the ones in the show.

Most of the works in the show are available as prints, which you can view by clicking this link.

 

Michalitsa Kozakopoulou (@CandyPinkFlesh)

Nettle Grellier (@NettleGrellierArtist)

Peter Evans (@PeterEvans___)

Rachael Neale (@Rachael.Neale)

Rhiannon Salisbury (@Rhiannon_R_Salisbury)

Rhys Thomas (@RhysThomasArtist)

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Down the Docks – 60 x 40 cm #delphianopencall @delphiangallery

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Ronan Bowes (@Ronan_O_Buadhaig)

Rune Christensen (@Rune_Christensen)

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WIP! Oil pastel and acrylic on canvas, 50×60 #contemporary #stilleben #painter #wip

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Sasha Baszynski (@Baszynski_Sasha)

Sergio Giannotta (@Sergio.Giannotta)

Sophi Megan (@SophiMeganArt)

Tania Alvarez (@TaniaAlvarezArt)

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Piece of a larger painting in progress.

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Tomas Harker (@TomasHarker)

Valerie Savchits (@Valerie.Savchits)

Vojtech Kovarik (@Vojtech_Kovarik)

 

To see the first fifteen winners, please click this link

To see the second fifteen winners, please click this link


Second Fifteen Winners of our 2019 Open Call.

Here are the second fifteen winners of our 2019 Open Call. We had an incredibly difficult time whittling the 10,000 submissions down to just 45, but we got there in the end. Here are the first 15.

The below artists are in alphabetical order, and the works below aren’t necessarily the ones in the show.

 

Most of the works in the show are available as prints, which you can view by clicking this link.

 

Gabriele Herzog (@Gabriele_Herzog)

Geoffrey Bohm (@GeoffreyBohm)

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War Cries On A Salt Lick

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Jacob Littlejohn (@JacobALittlejohn)

Jake Grewal (@JakeGrewal)

Jemisha Maadhavji (@Jemisha_Maadhavji)

Jim McElvaney (@JimMcElvaney)

Jonas Mayer (@JonasMayerr)

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#wip #acrylicpainting #contemporaryart #figurativeart #abstractart #2019 #studio #jonasmayer

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Jukka Virkkunen (@JukkaVirkkunen)

Julie Caves (@Julie_Caves)

Kirsten Valentine (@KirstenValentine)

Klaus is Koming (@KlausIsKoming)

Loreal Prystaj (@LorealPrystajPhotography)

Mateusz Sarzynski (@Mateusz.Sarzynski)

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trust no one oil paint #polishartist #contemporaryarts #kunst #artbrut #malarstwo #toppaint

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Matt Coombs (@Coombs.Matt)

Max Freund (@MaxFreund)

To see the first fifteen, please click this link


Creative Restlessness – A conversation between Benjamin Murphy and Kevin Perkins

Creative Restlessness – A conversation between Benjamin Murphy and Kevin Perkins

 

I was first made aware of Kevin’s work through social media and I was struck by his boundless energy for experimentation. Whilst undertaking this wild experimentation, his work retained a feel that was unmistakably his. I have exhibited, and exhibited his work a few times before our upcoming show A Long Way From Home (With Igor Moritz), and in each show he has exhibited a different form of painting. Each of these, however, are executed with an expert precision, whilst also displaying a wonderful expressiveness and economy of gesture. I decided to have a chat to him ahead of the show we did with him back in January, about his work, and his approach to making in general.

 

Kevin Perkins

Utilising the unusual medium of coloured pencil on salvaged book covers; the portraits depict (mostly) lone sitters smoking, drinking tea, reflected in mirrors or simply ‘being’ and certainly give the nod to a golden era of twentieth century European painting. The surfaces of the book covers themselves lend an almost canvas-like quality to the images, and also help to add a beautiful ageing affect to the colour. Through these works, Perkins continues to develop his excellent ability to reference and draw from art-history, producing nostalgic works that drip with both playfulness and charisma.

 

[Benjamin Murphy] – Firstly – why are you an artist?

 

[Kevin Perkins] – I originally started painting out of necessity. I got hired to teach high school painting classes with no real background in painting. I’d watch YouTube videos and read tutorials before every class and then make a demo of whatever concept I was trying to teach. That turned into a real practice. I was looking at a massive amount of art and decided that I wanted to try and be a real artist, whatever that means.

 

I felt like an imposter for a long time. But now I guess I make work out of what I like to think of as a creative restlessness.

 

[BM] – Is this perhaps why you are experimenting so much within your practice?

 

[KP] – Oh yeah. Definitely.  I tend to have a hard time staying put in one specific approach to my work. I’m not really interested in creating the same kind of work over and over. I don’t care if that’s what sells, I make the work for myself, to fulfill a need that I have.

 

[BM] – I think the driving force for most artists is a need for experimentation, even if their work remains on a similar track. Where do you see your work going in future?

 

[KP] – I tend to not think about the future of my work. It’s a very in the moment kind of thing. Though I’m interested in moving into sculpture but haven’t had the space or time to figure out what that looks like for me.

 

[BM] – So where does your imagery come from?

 

[KP] – I cobble together images that I’ve found from my stockpile of old books, magazines publications, and photographs, as well as the occasional internet find, life drawings, and reimagining of master works. I don’t really seek out imagery for the work often. Instead, if I stumble across something that may work I’ll tuck it back until I’m ready for it.

 

[BM] – How in control would you say of how the paintings ultimately end up looking, do you have a ideal aesthetic in mind or is your process more experimental?

 

[KP] – The idea of an ideal aesthetic is something that I don’t put much stock in because it’s always changing. But to say that my work is experimental is reaching too far. Achieving consistency is not something I concern myself with. I produce work and it inevitably looks like my work. It may be influenced by someone or some thing that I’ve consumed but the way I apply paint, the rhythm of my hand, the energy will be evident in the work. It’s like writing letters. I don’t think about the way I write the letter “e” but if I write enough of them a pattern will emerge. In the same way, if I am true to myself and produce work that is a creative outflow of my interests, then patterns within the works will begin to form and an aesthetic that is true and uniquely mine will appear.

 

That being said, I do follow a similar process with the creation of most of my works. Which lends itself to a more consistent and specific aesthetic.

 

My drawings and studies are free and open to the whims of chance

kevin perkins

Kevin Perkins – book cover portraits

[BM] – With my work I aim to paint haptically, thinking as little about how I want it to look or what it means as possible, because I want it to mean different things to each individual viewer. Would you say that you paint in a similar way?

 

[KP] – Yes and no. I’m not so concerned about the outcome or what it means. I’d like for the work to look a certain way but that can range depending on where I am at mentally and emotionally as I’m creating the work. I make the work for myself. So to disassociate from the outcome for the sake of the viewer would be dishonest to myself and I feel that my work and my drive to make the work would suffer. I don’t care about the viewer so much. People will interact with and read into the work what they will and I’ve got no control over that.

 

[BM] – What are your intentions when you approach a canvas?

 

[KP] – I’m more interested in the creation than the outcome. Don’t get me wrong

though, the outcome is certainly an important aspect to it all. But once I’m done with the work I have no intention of returning to it. I’ve detached myself from the work. It’s served it’s purpose for me. I treat every painting like a puzzle. The enjoyment is putting it together. Once I’m done with that I could care less if it ends up in the trash or on someone’s wall. I suppose though that it’s nice to make a little money so that I can keep up the insanity of making work.

 

Maybe I’m being too honest.

 

[BM] – Yeah I can totally see what you mean, for me it’s all about the process. Once it’s finished and framed it feels almost as if it was done by someone else.

 

[KP] – So how do you feel about your most recent works, and did you alter your approach in any way knowing that this was a two-person show?

 

Yes I did. I was more open and free with my use of color. Igor has a beautiful sense of color and I guess my works needed a bit of a boost in order to stand in the same space as his.

 

[BM] – Is that the first time you’ve worked in this way?

 

[KP] – I feel like I’ve been edging toward it for a while.

 

[BM] – Can you tell us a little about the works you created for the show?

 

[KP] – I messed around with form a lot in this body of work. These paintings move in and out of refinement. Some of the work is incredibly unrefined, for example one of my self portraits was done in one take, drawn while only looking in the mirror and never at the canvas (blind contour). Another work, one of the nudes, was left as an unpolished charcoal drawing. And then there of course were more refined renderings in other works in the show.

 

The enjoyment for me comes in pushing the figures and the spaces that they inhabit beyond the norms of portraiture. Portraits are tricky, I’m never really trying to paint a specific person the way they actually look. I’m more considering the narrative around them and how that comes across in the work.

 

In retrospect, the paintings here emphasize the process, and the history, of how I work. As I stated earlier, I don’t like to think much about how someone may interpret the work. My interest in it lies in the development, the making of the works.

kevin perkins

Kevin Perkins – Book cover drawing

Kevin’s book cover works will be released as a catalogue via Kunst Katalog soon, follow their profile via the hyperlink for more details.

The other artist in our show with Kevin Perkins was Igor Moritz, read Benjamin’s conversation with him [HERE]

Originally published in AfterNyne Magazine.


Faded Glory – San Francisco

Our most recent show Faded Glory opened a few weeks ago in San Francisco at Book&Job gallery in the Tenderloin district. It was a two-person show with artists Benjamin Murphy and Nick JS Thompson, who although have collaborated many times before, have never done a two-person show together until now.

San francisco - faded glory

Below are some install shots of the show. Big thanks to the amazing Carson Lancaster for inviting us to host a show at Book&Job Gallery, and thanks to everyone who visited the show.

San francisco - faded glory

 

In 2018 we hosted Carson’s debut UK solo show Lost Coast, which you can see [HERE]

 

 


Our 2019 Open Call is NOW OPEN – here are a few of our favourites so far.

Our 2019 Open Call is NOW OPEN! You still have over a week to submit your work, but for now we thought we’d give you a little run-down of some of the submissions so far.

 

For more information on how to enter, you can find the instructions [HERE]

Caleb Hahn (@CalebHahn)

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Amazing work coming in for the open call so far! We love this piece by @calebhahne. #DelphianOpenCall #delphiangallery.

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Georgia Grinter (@Georgia.Grinter)

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Love this drawing by @georgia.grinter submitted to #DelphianOpenCall.

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Sophie Goudman-Peachen (@Peach.Face)

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Love this drawing by @georgia.grinter submitted to #DelphianOpenCall.

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Jemisha Maadhavji (@Jemisha_Maadhavji)

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Jemisha Maadhavji for #delphianopencall. @jemisha_maadhavji #delphiangallery

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Lotta Esko (@Lotta_Esko)

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@lotta_esko for #DelphianOpenCall.

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Brad Teodoruk (@BradTeodoruk) & Neil Ernest Tomkins (@Neil_Ernest_Tomkins)

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@bradteodoruk for #DelphianOpenCall.

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Zibby Jahns (@ZibbyJahns)

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Loving the calibre of the submissions so far! @zibbyjahns for #DelphianOpenCall

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Mizog Art Podcast – Benjamin Murphy

One of our directors (Benjamin Murphy) was recently interviewed by Gary Mansfield on the newest episode of the Mizog Art Podcast. On it, he discusses his own work, as well as giving some insight as to why him and Nick JS Thompson decided to start Delphian Gallery.

mizog podcast

As well as this, he drops some exciting hints about the hotly awaited upcoming Delphian Podcast.

Listen to it HERE

For more interviews with the Delphian Directors, check out this one with Arrested Motion.


Charley Peters in conversation with Remi Rough

Charley Peters is a painter. I don’t see her paintings as simply abstract, they are more about the formalism of painting itself, but she also uses the surfaces she works on as conveyances for her internal structures. There is an abundance of mathematics within her paintings, from the simple yet perfect gradients she often uses to the detailed repetitive shapes that are painstakingly drawn and subsequently painted into tiny masked off sections. Peters plays with the idea of how people consume and view her artworks on handheld screens so much so that some of her paintings look almost like digital glitches when seen on a phone. Her use of colour is bold and beautiful so it’s no wonder so many people have gravitated toward her work.In the ever changing landscape of the modern art world Charley Peters is a much needed agent of change.

charley peters

Charley Peters in the studio

 

You often utilise a mixture of materials in your paintings, I wondered how you initially engage with materials, did you purposely select them or was there more of an accidental discovery? 

Could you also expand on your use of airbrush as I find this a really interesting medium?

 

I predominantly use acrylic paint, which I apply with a brush, and spray paint or acrylic paint run through an airbrush. The two ways of applying paint – by brush or by spraying – have very different sensibilities, and I like to offset one against the other. I like painting to be as engaged with the substance and appearance of paint as creating an ‘image’, so using paint in different ways enables me to generate a variety of surfaces within each work. When I paint with a brush it’s a slower and more controlled process, I use heavy body paint against tape, usually mixed to the consistency of soft butter and like it to be matt and opaque. Sprayed paint has a dewy quality, it’s very wet and more difficult to control, but I enjoy how tricky it is. It can be used to create solid, flat colour or if applied more sensitively, it’s possible to build up tones in translucent layers. I love how sprayed paint can suggest infinite pictorial depth, the way that light and colour are diffused by spraying is beautiful and almost otherworldly. Running acrylic paint through an airbrush allows me to create the effect of spray paint but I have more control over colour (obviously spray paint colours are pre-mixed) and it’s a more deliberate way of applying sprayed paint; controlled and precise but still with the capacity to appear gestural and fluid.

 

 

 

Could you describe your ideal painting? Have you made it yet? (I often ask myself this question by the way).

 

No, I don’t think I’ll ever make my ideal painting. I have paintings that I’m more satisfied with than others, some that I like on a purely instinctive level and others that I can’t stand the sight of. What I’d like to achieve in my paintings is a perfect balance of colour, composition and form. I break down the picture plane into different spatial areas of divergent visual information – all treated as individual components, but through the making of the work I hope to bring them all together to create a sense of harmony, as if all elements were always meant to be together. I don’t like my work when it is overworked or overcomplicated, paintings can be technically difficult to make and labour intensive but I don’t think they need to look like that’s the case. I suppose I want to look at my paintings and for them to just ‘be’ right. Of course, right is a highly subjective term and I often deliberately break rules and do things wrong in order to make the painting right in the end. And paint is a very spirited and rebellious medium, it sometimes does wrong things all by itself, which is also exactly the right thing for it to do.

 

charley peters - delphian magazine

(L) ~NMH*NFM~ (2018), acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 150cm
(R) LM>Installed in Harder Edge: A Survey of Recent Abstraction, Saatchi Gallery, London (2018)

Having worked with you on numerous occasions, you seem to have a pretty loose approach to making your work yet they look so organised and pre-designed. Do you prefer to work to preset ideas or be more flexible?

 

I don’t organise or pre-design my work at all. Again, I think this relates to me trying to make the painting right or balanced from the starting point of a blank canvas. Making paintings for me is a very fluid process, there are some moments of logical thought and conscious decision making but mostly I rely on my intuition and impulsive actions. I never know what my paintings will look like once they are finished. I always start with applying colour to the painting’s surface, usually a flat, mid-tone colour that I’ve arrived at by not much thought at all…often just a sense of whether it might be hot or cold or bright or dark. After that I divide the surface up spatially and work on each area independently of the others. At this point I mask off large areas of the painting so can’t see much of what I’m doing. I’m working in the dark most of the time. I work in layers, similar to constructing images using Photoshop, I don’t consider the whole painting until it’s nearly finished. I usually paint on the floor and draw quick sketches as I paint as half-formed notions of what I might do next, but these are far from ‘working drawings’ and more like linear scribbles that barely make sense. Somehow they help me move through paintings until they can be considered finished. It’s a difficult way of working, like organising the chaos of not knowing where things are going – I end up changing my mind about things, adjusting colours or forms as I paint, I paint over things that have taken days of work – but it’s the best way for me. I like to go to the studio and leave my logical, overthinking mind elsewhere, I think I make better paintings that way.

 

Also, I wanted to respond to your introduction to my work in this interview, in which you describe ‘an abundance of mathematics’ within my paintings. I find ‘mathematics’ such an alien term. I find numbers impossible – I can’t read or remember them, even simple numerical systems like phone numbers and padlock codes confuse me and I get them wrong. I generally rely on visual maths in the studio, dividing spaces up by eye rather than measuring them. My rulers all have paint on them and I can’t easily read the numbers, if I count or add things up I have to do it several times and it is still wrong. It made me laugh when you used the word ‘mathematics’ as I’m not at all mathematical or precise when I work – I make a huge mess every time I do anything!

 

charley peters - delphian magazine

>THT< (2018), acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 150cm

 

There seems to be a renaissance of hard edge, more graphic work lately, is this a good thing or a bad thing? I often wonder if it hinders or helps myself?

 

It’s both good and bad. When there is an increased interest in a particular aesthetic or methodology it opens up more opportunities to show work and be part of an identifiable peer network of artists – this is mostly a good thing, it means we are relevant and interesting if only for a transient period of time. What can be bad about being ‘on trend’ is that people can stop being critical, they don’t see the good work from the bad, the innovative from the derivative. I’m uncomfortable with any sentimental or nostalgic positioning of particular genres of painting, and being associated with, for example, the hard edge or geometric abstraction, feels unthinking and too surface level a definition for what I think I should be making today. I’d prefer to think that I’m looking at the hard edge through the lens of contemporary visual media – and asking questions about the legacy of abstraction and what it is now. There is no point making work in a contemporary context that looks like it could have been made in the 1960s.

 

 

 

[Remi Rough] – I know you’re doing a writing residency later this year and wondered how important is that aspect of your work compared to painting?

 

[Charley Peters] – Painting is always more important, I’m a painter who writes. Writing about others’ work is a good way to articulate ideas within my own painting with an objectivity that is difficult when trying to be too self-reflective. I find writing a frustrating process, it’s far too logical and slow. More so than with painting I need some sort of plan or structure at the beginning and that pisses me off, it’s so boring. I make sense of the process of writing in a way that I can cope with. I write in layers, like I would make a painting, writing unrelated pieces of text that get expanded on or edited out in waves of activity until there’s a whole piece of writing with a beginning, middle and end. I see words as having a rhythm, colour or shape when put together in sentences and then they make sense to me as a resolved object. I think it’s as important to be critical when writing as it is to be critical when painting and I like my texts to have ideas and positions in them, even if I’m writing a review of an exhibition, I think there should be a more interesting subtext than merely discussing the show.

 

 

 

[RR] – Would you ever consider taking your work into a more sculptural plane?

 

[CP] – My paintings are ‘spatial’, they engage with the physical space of the canvas and the illusionary space that painting can create. I do think that they are as much objects as they are images or surfaces. I always consider that the edges of the paintings are part of the work, they are usually painted as an extension of the front of the canvas. I have also made several walk-in, or immersive, paintings – room-sized installations of wall and/or floor paintings – as well as smaller assemblages of disparate painted sculptural elements. Painting has the capacity to challenge our understanding of space and has a life that extends beyond being hung on a wall. Even the most benign rectangular canvas on a white gallery wall can manipulate and control space. I think it’s more important than ever to acknowledge painting’s sculptural potential in a world where most of what we experience is non-physical and seen on a screen.

 

 

charley peters - delphian magazine

Editing Suite, Installed in The Future, Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, Coventry (2017)
Acrylic and spray paint on panel and wall painting

 

[RR] – Can you tell me about 3 artists dead or alive you have had a big influential impact on you and the way you work.

 

[CP] – Definitely Agnes Martin. Martin said that inspiration found her and that she could take no credit for it, she just emptied her head – especially of thoughts of herself – and inspiration would come into her ‘vacant mind’. This relates to what I was saying earlier about leaving my logical mind outside the studio. I think that painting became more interesting for me when I stopped planning, thinking and knowing what I was doing. Removing myself from the work as much as possible allows the paintings to make themselves – they feel more honest that way. I love Eva Hesse’s work, her bold and exploratory use of materials and textures is both intelligent and sensual. Sol LeWitt’s letter to Eva Hesse is something that I return to over and over again. It reminds me of the difficulties of making work and, again, the importance of ‘doing’ over thinking, worrying or second guessing. It’s a mistake to only credit him with that letter, he couldn’t have written it without her. And I’d also cite Carmen Herrera as being a significant figure for me. She exemplifies so well the strength and resilience of creative spirit, and makes shit hot paintings too.

 

[RR] – Do you think your artwork is a subjective window of your personality?

 

[CP] – That’s an interesting question…

Do you mean are my paintings a reflection of who I am, for example, an odd mixture of impulsiveness and discipline?! You should tell me – you know me well enough to say! I’m generally uncomfortable talking about my work in subjective terms. I have a formal painting practice, my concerns are with the relationships between colour, form and compositional space, and nothing emotional. I like how abstraction masks subjectivity so we can just see the work and nothing else. I’m certainly not positioning myself, my life experiences or opinions within my work and as such I’m resistant to any suggestion that my paintings are a representation, for want of a better word, of my personality. Of course, at times I may make subjective judgements on things like colour or when a painting is finished, but does that make ‘me’ part of the work? Sometimes if I’m tired or had a tough day does that affect the sensibility of my painting or the decisions I make in the studio? Maybe it does. You’ve asked a complicated question, and I can answer it by talking about my intentions for the work and how I like to consider my painting as a non-subjective entity. It’s possible that this isn’t entirely true though, it’s so difficult to say where decisions in the studio come from and how much of that is driven by intuition or experience.

 

Both artists are still exhibiting at the The House Of Saint Barnabus alongside Peter Lamb,  and Charley is showing at Fold Gallery until the 2nd of March.

If you enjoyed Remi interviewing Charley, read Charley interviewing Remi HERE

The pair also have just released a print (with Peter Lamb), which can be bought HERE


Who is it real for? The internet as vehicle

Who is it real for? The internet as vehicle by Kate Mothes

the internet as vehicle - delphian magazine

Salad Days – an online exhibition with Young Space

 

(This column came from a late-night post on Facebook, which generated a discussion that I was thinking about for days after. When social media is genuinely social, it can be incredibly rewarding. This column is essentially that Facebook post, edited for clarity, with some of the thoughts from comments woven in.)

 

There’s a misconception (which I subscribed to for a long time) that everyone in the art world is rich. Like, stinking, rotten rich. They have this beautiful white cube space; they take collectors out to dinner; they’re jet-setting from art fair to art fair; they’re dealing in fine art, a luxury item, for crying out loud. “They” feels totally disparate from “me,” the indie creative person, plugging along, disconnected from the glamour I associate with that lifestyle. It’s a lot more complex and stratified than that now, and the internet can be both blamed and lauded for its ability to simultaneously mask and manufacture ideas about that lifestyle.

 

It’s easy, as an independent creative, on principle, to assume that the big guys are always out to get the little guys. Does anyone else assume that everyone else on Instagram is rich? Or has the luxury to make art 24/7? I do too, and then I have to remember that it’s an aspirational platform, and much of this is fabrication, or an omission of the details that make life livable – working 60 hours per week, taking care of a house, getting the kids to school on time, and soo on. It’s easy to mistrust what looks a lot like big money, when money is something you generally scrape by for. The internet has already changed that “them vs. me” mentality, and continues to do so, and I, for one, am doing something within the art world that would not be possible without the internet. So why am I still so confounded by it?

 

I alternately describe myself as a curator, a presenter, an influencer, an organizer, or a producer, or simply a collaborator, depending on what I’m working on that minute. I also acknowledge that I’m working within a globalized contemporary art world – somewhere in between artists’ studios and commercial galleries’ back rooms – and that’s a wide net to cast, and the depths are blurry. Also, the vast majority of everything I do is online, a playing field that has been leveled by social media platforms to allow for more ways to showcase and access art, while at the same time raising questions about how it’s homogenizing the field itself.

 

I currently live in a blue-collar city in Northern Wisconsin, where I grew up and where it is exceptionally affordable. It’s a place where, however, the art scene we associate with New York City, London, or Hong Kong, does not reach one spindly tendril. I justify to myself that I’m here because there’s an ironic cachet to rurality in contemporary art, and it’s a little bit weird, but the truth is that it’s out of sheer necessity. There is simply no way I would be able to focus as much time and energy on the creative route I’ve found myself on, if I was a rent slave in New York. Every day, though, I wish I could be there. So, I use the internet to keep a finger on the pulse, establish connections, and work on projects. I’m always remote. And I am connected to countless others online who operate in a similar way.

 

The internet, which billions of us now use, is at the center of my (hopefully not too navel-gazey) fascination with the directions that the art world moves, how opportunities are generated, and how attitudes toward various art world geographies and players continue to shift. Its role in the arts is paradoxical in that it is essential across the board for myriad reasons, from advertising to networking, however it can be seen as a necessity or an alternative. Where that line is drawn depends entirely on who’s using it, and who their audience is.

 

There are advisors, consultants, developers, designers, curators, artist-curators, brokers, nomadic spaces, publishers, online auctions, Instagram galleries, virtual spaces, etc. The ways that artists can reach audiences these days is AMAZING. But we’re still not comfortable with the fast pace at which the Internet, and the way we look at art, is changing how we make, learn about, and purchase artwork. In the digital age, we try our best to keep up with how fast the art world moves, at the same time knowing that the digital sphere is the epicenter of innovation today. The art world is no exception.

 

From a more philosophical point of view, assuming that there is or should ever be one way of looking, finding, experiencing, interacting with, making, or sharing artwork = absolutely ludicrous. Because I was raised by artists, resisted academia despite the pressure to pursue it, was influenced by artist-led culture, and have always been driven to DO and MAKE as a way of being, I’m hard-wired to see alternatives to everything. Not that the way I want to do it is better–it might fail horribly–but if it hasn’t really been done this way before, or if I have a certain set of tools in my toolbox that I didn’t before, why shouldn’t an alternative at least be attempted?

 

The Internet has revved up to hyper-speed the rate at which we experience, view, participate in, and connect with art and art people. Without it, my project, a nomadic online-offline curatorial contemporary platform called Young Space, would not exist. I’m extremely interested in how fast things move and what sort of information we as creatives share online. How can we use this as a vehicle? How does it help? How does it hinder? What are the limitations, and what are the open horizons?

 

I’ve been doing this experimental series of online exhibitions, the most recent called Salad Days, which has had a great response. However, I admit I feel weird about these. I feel weird because they’re not “real.” But then I mentally slap myself and think, DUH, YES, THEY ARE REAL. They are very real. And I want to do more of them.

 

Why do I feel like these are not real? Maybe there’s a disconnect between the “analog” artwork and the “virtual” vessel. This may feel difficult to reconcile, even if all of the other pieces of the puzzle add up to a very traditional way of presenting a show… it’s simply that the exhibition space is a website. Is that stilla scary idea? The question is perhaps not so much is it a scary idea, but to whom.Because, in fact, almost all of the complaints I receive are from artists, and I would argue it’s because there is still a perception that the internet is simply “easier.” I’m arguing that it’s not; the work and time we invest just looks different.

 

These online shows have been more popular and just as well-received as the physical shows I’ve curated (so far), so I’m really intrigued as to why, when I do an online show, I receive much more flack for it than when I do a physical one. Full disclosure, it usually has to do with either a fee required to apply, or commission taken from sales. These are sore spots for artists because there’s already so much expense to just make the work, let alone the time invested. (I think it’s a mistake to proclaim that pay-to-play is, across the board, horrible. YES, sometimes they are really lame. But if one does their research, it’s not difficult to find out if something is legit, and if that person is really working in your best interest. That is an essay for another time.)

 

There seems to be a bizarrely fine line between the idea of “supporting” artists and “exploiting” them. Money is still the core of this, which is unfortunate and ironic, as artists are educated in making art for art’s sake, but realistically they are thrust into an art world that values the appearance of that, but the bottom line is still about sales. This points to a big debate within art schools about whether to teach artists business practices. Because the art world artists strive to get into is about money. Art for art’s sake? Sure. But you still need to eat.

 

Online exhibitions are not new. I’m fascinated that they are such a tender spot. For example, Artsy offers a resource called ‘The Gallery’s Guide to Online Exclusive Shows.’As I see it, online shows are more accessible than a physical space. More people can see them, in any part of the world, at any time of day. It’s less expensive, as there’s no need to rent space, or pay for packing or shipping. That money can be spent on increased advertising, web fees, saves artists the trouble shipping work unless it sells, and the artists still have documentation of a professionally curated exhibition. The work does sell sometimes, but sometimes it doesn’t, of course.

 

I, for one, don’t think in dollars and cents about online shows. Young Space is not really a commercial venture – it’s a curatorial platform. It’s a “project.” The value comes from a different direction: I’m attempting to position myself as a facilitator for these artists, as opposed to acting as a dealer. I can’t even count how many artists from my Instagram or exhibitions have been selected for exhibitions or projects, not to mention galleries’ rosters! (Do I get a cent from any of that? No.)

 

Perhaps trouble arises because of a problem that is as old as the internet itself: Can I trust that you are you who say you are, and that you will do what you say you will do? How is this different than any other Instagram account? Who do you know? What are your credentials? (My answer to that is always DO YOUR RESEARCH. Ask. Don’t assume that everyone’s out there to get you.) Pro tip: Artists, don’t be accusatory, arrogant, or assume you know everything right out of the gate. If you do, you can bet I’m never going to want to work with you, or recommend you to anyone, period. I would never presume to know how someone else’s work was made, having never tried myself.

the internet as vehicle - delphian magazine

Salad Days – an online exhibition with Young Space

 

Recently, smaller galleries are shuttering their doors, decentralizing from urban cultural centers, or pursuing online platforms. Gallerists that once maintained brick and mortar locations are now dealing artwork without the real estate overhead. They’re in a double-bind, because they have to keep up appearances, and yes, keep with tradition (the comfort of the brick and mortar, the philosophical dilemma of getting rid of a physical space and still being able to call oneself a gallerist), even when they are struggling. If they admit they’re not doing well, they look like they can’t hold it together, rather than the opposite being the case: rising rents are not only forcing artists out, but galleries too. If they pretend they’re doing just fine when they’re actually freaking the F out, they’re fighting a losing battle too, because they’ll eventually not be able to sustain at the same pace, and they’ll fold anyway.

 

Advertising and fair fees are immense, the pressure to do them is intense, and competition can be cutthroat. There are the motherships – Gagosian, Saatchi, PACE and the like. There are some great mid-tier galleries, excellent smaller galleries, and some very exciting startups. Great galleries are often side hustles. I’m not saying there aren’t some seriously putridly rich people out there; many of them are. But many are just doing OK.

 

It’s worth remembering that artists have historically been kept separate from the art world until they are “welcomed in” by a gatekeeper, whether it’s a gallerist or a collector or simply someone who knows someone. In a sense, even my project Young Space is like a lower-tier gate – one that aims to offer early career and emerging artists the chance to have their work showcased to an audience comprised of gallerists, curators, collectors, and other artists. The competition is fierce, the animosity spreads like moss… it takes a lot to keep your chin up, let alone find emotional or mental room for optimism when you feel like you’re getting overlooked again and again. It’s not that you don’t have something of value to offer; it may be that the time is just not right yet.

 

Regardless, there’s a system in place and there are rules. Rules that supposedly can be broken–but can they? There are things that are simply “not done,” like the classic no-no of walking into a gallery with your portfolio hoping they’ll be inspired by your courage and place you on their roster. But of course, feel free to innovate or approach those boundaries all you like… at your peril. There is so much code-switching in the art world, it boggles the mind. The internet, though, is a place where there is power to influence and to be seen, as the connectivity we can achieve now, via social media especially, was unheard of a decade ago.

 

No, an online show will never be the same as viewing work in person. Never. But I find the resistance to–and cynicism toward–virtual modes of sharing artwork a little awkward at this point. This is a whole new realm of connectivity, and as creatives this is what we do. This is the game! Try weird shit! For a while I was irritated and took criticism about these things personally (Young Space is a solo project after all, it’s sometimes hard to disengage). But I’m realizing that this nerve is perhaps exactly the reason it’s worth exploring.

 

For more guest articles, see Charley Peters’ interview with Remi Rough