Category: interviews

Diabolical – A Conversation with Valerie Savchits

Valerie Savchits was one of the Judges Picks in our 2019 Delphian Open Call, and we really love her expressive, often darkly-comic works. We decided to find out a little more about her work, and what it all means.

 

Benjamin Murphy – Firstly, why are you an artist?

Valerie Savchits – When I was about 2-3 years old my mother introduced me to drawing – she was kind of into designing and drawing in her teenage years. Between 2005-2008 I used to paint on the streets with my classmates like real vandals, but in 2009 something shifted in me and I realised that I’m really into chemistry, I even started my Chemical Technology course in Riga Technical University in 2012 but deep down I knew that I have to stick to what really cures me, allows to transmit flows of ideas and raise my voice on many important topics. My parents were brought up in Soviet times, were a little strict and believed you need to go into a solid profession so you can feed yourself. They simply wanted me to find a job in an office or do 12h shifts in some restaurant not far from home and that’s it.

They always wanted only best for me and their intentions were always good but at the same time they were trying to put an idea into my head that I need to have a stable income, have kids by the age of 21 and make my art my hobby because it’s unrealistic to be an artist in Latvia or elsewhere – it wasn’t even a profession for them.

But I just didn’t care – despite their endless efforts, I just ignored about 80% of what they were saying to me. Diabolical, I know. If I listened to every single advice they ever gave to me, I wouldn’t be where I am now and having this conversation with you. So, being already a colossal failure for my parents because I didn’t live up to their expectations, I embraced my rebellious nature and moved to Manchester to study arts in hope it will help me to understand myself a bit more.

BM – So would you say that a spirit of rebellion is a salient part of your work too?

VS – Sure, this is something inevitable – I need to spill this explosive energy out so it transforms into the characters you see in my work.

valerie savchits

Dissolved into nothingness

BM – Who are these characters in your work and what do they represent?

VS – Very often the characters in my work are a projection of my memory or simply an embodiment of symbiosis of current emotions. Sometimes my characters take shape / are born from the conversations I heard in real life or movies or read in books – I’m a huge fan of dystopian science fiction, especially its sub-genre cyberpunk and it’s been influential on my work for quite some time.

May be this year I’ll try to work on self-portraiture – this is something I haven’t done before and definitely outside of my comfort zone.

BM – If the characters in your work represent your memories or your emotions, how will these new self-portraits differ from your current work?

VS – The thing is that all the characters in my current work never happened to depict me – those memories and emotions were usually connected with or evoked by someone or something else. For example I dedicated a few works to my mother which depicted my complicated relationship with her and what you actually see on canvas is either an animal, a burning house or a bunch of bones – it can take any shape.

Now I want to try out different guises, explore my body lines and mimics and it’s going to be one of the hardest things to do – to capture my own essence, because sometimes I catch myself thinking that even complete strangers know more about me than I do about myself. I think this could be a good change for me to become my own subject and this self-portrait project will also develop in parallel with my current work.

Valerie Savchits

Phenomenal Idiots

BM – Are they dedicated to her because they contain something that you want to say about her, or is it something you want to say to her rather than about her?

VS – It’s just the way I express my feelings or doubts about some topics (not about her persona) that I don’t necessarily want to tell her tête-à-tête – all my paintings or sculptures, including the ones I dedicated to members of my family, are like a personal diary.

BM – So what makes you so willing to share that personal diary with the world

VS – I’d say the main reason for this is that I often can’t keep my opinions to myself, the more I keep inside myself the more it becomes a catalyst for making me feel ambivalent and this simply drives me crazy in the aftermath. But at the same time I don’t like talking much and give long speeches, so I prefer to make a statement in a piece of artwork. I incorporate phrases both in Russian and English in all my work and this combination of image and text depicts my thoughts, emotions and observations more precisely than an ordinary diary ever could.

valerie savchits

I’ll See You Again

 

For more by Valerie Savchits, see her WEBSITE


Episode 3 of the Delphian Podcast is now live!

Episode 3 of the Delphian Podcast is NOW LIVE!

episode 3

In episode 3 of The Delphian Podcast we talk to artist, curator and author Rosalind Davis. In her personal work, Rosalind produces multi-disciplinary works about the transformation of space. She has also been the permanent curator at Collyer Bristow Gallery in London since 2016 and has curated over 30 exhibitions to date. In 2016 she co-authored the book “What they didn’t teach you at art school” with Annabel Tilley and she is a regular lecturer at universities, galleries and organisations across the country.

 

Listen now on our website HERE, or search DELPHIAN PODCAST in iTunes, Spotify, or Podbean.

 

Read more about Rosalind  HERE


We asked 46 artists which was their favourite art-based Instagram account at the moment, here are their answers…

Paul Weiner (@POWeiner) – I love Clyfford Still. Check out @Still_Museum.

Charley Peters (@CharleyPeters) – There’s a lot of great artist accounts, too many to choose a favourite. I do always look forward to posts from @GerryBonetti, he consistently presents an elegantly curated selection of contemporary work. He’s very generous and supportive of artists; obviously passionate about what’s being made now and the legacy of what has been made before. It’s an intelligent feed with a strong authorial voice.

Remi Rough (@RemiRough) – @dezeen or @designboom

Jonny Green (@JonnyGreenArt) – @drawingcocksonthelocalpaper @ambera.wellmann @van_minnen @jakechapmaniac, these are all pretty similar.

Richard Stone (@Artist_Stone) – I don’t have a favourite, but I do like artist (and curator) accounts that mix it up visually and textually and it surprises you or you learn something.

Kevin Perkins (@Kevin_Perkins_) – @bathersbytheriver is great

Sally Bourke (@Justondark) – Probably @jerrysaltz or @whos____who

Lee Johnson (@LeeJohnson.eu) – I always like to see what @stonertim and @paul.housley are painting. Also @rhyslee_ and @jerrysaltz, and my buddy @dellyrose

Jenny Brosinski (@Jenny_Brosisnski) – @davidkordanskygallery

Andy Dixon (@Andy.Dxn) – You can’t go wrong with @painterspaintingpaintings – I’m inspired by pretty much everything they post.

Klone Yourself (@KloneYourself) – I think my fav Instagram accounts at the moment are actually of cartoons and short comics, there’s some realy good ones and the fit the phone screen format much better then art that never realy translates well.

Daisy Parris (@DaisyParris) – @CodyTumblin

Jake Chapman (@JakeChapmaniac) – None

Benjamin Murphy (@BenjaminMurphy_) – @Daily_Contemporary_Art

Tom Anholt (@TomAnholt) – @PaintersPaintingPaintings

Spencer Shakespeare (@SpencerShakespeare) -Anything Richard Ayoade

Rowan Newton (@Rowan_Newton) – @18.01london

Hayden Kays (@HaydenKays) – I love seeing factory production line videos on Instagram. I love factories. I love nifty machines. They remind me of Heath Robinson creations. Art is reduced to postage stamp proportions on it, that are then viewed in an infinite conveyor belt of imagery and noise. It’s certainly not the white walled, calm space I think art often thrives in.

Matthew Allen (@Matthew__Allen) – It has to be @Work2day, it has a similar aesthetic to my own interests, but has a much broader scope so I often find new works/artists via their account.

Rae Hicks (@Rae_Hicks_On_Gangs) – @Sean.Steadman’s feed is always a flow of gems.

Jonni Cheatwood (@Jonni_Cheatwood) – I’m a big fan of @TaylorA.White as a person, definitely as a painter but he’s just so so funny.

Andrew Salgado (@Andrew.Salgado.Art) – im trying to spend less time on instagram as it feeds into bad self-image. but i like @painterspainterspaintings and @topainterstopaintings or something like that. i forget.

Soumya Netrabile (@Netrabile) – I really like @Jitjander’s page. It’s this evolving survey of evocative images from which you can draw so much inspiration.

Hedley Roberts (@HedleyRoberts) – @the_chopper_lifestyle is my favourite Instagram account right now. It isn’t art based, at least not in a obvious way. For art, there’s loads but @painterspaintingpaintings is one I go back to regularly.

Nick JS Thompson (@nickjsthompson) – @brush_uk always have an excellently curated feed of contemporary painting.

Justin Long (@_JustinLong) – @arthandlermag

Erin Lawlor (@TheErinLawlor) – @painterspaintingpaintings.

Tony Riff (@TonyRiff) – It’s always changing but Probably @Spencermann he knocks out so much work but it’s always super consistent, thanks for making me feel lazy, dude.

Justin Lee Williams (@ArtJLW) – @Greatartinuglyrooms – it’s gold

Jordy Kerwick (@JordyKerwick) – @Daily_Contemporary_Art (of course). If not DC, @FreudMonkGallery

Wingshan Smith (@wingshansmith) – @thewhitepube always.

Fiona Grady (@Fiona_Grady) – One of my favourites is artist @nickyhirst63 she doesn’t tend to share photos of her artworks but instead things that capture her attention – in some ways it’s more insightful. I think she has a really great eye for detail and her feed has a subtle humour.

Obit (@LazyObit) – I’d love to say something highbrow but in reality it’s @saucypostcard

Kenichi Hoshine (@Kenichi_Hoshine) – I really like @painterspaintingpaintings, @yngspc and @collecteurs

Bertrand Fournier (@FournierBertrand)– I don’t want some to be jealous.

Anthony Cudahy (@AnthonyCudahy) – I would say Cheyenne Julien, but she’s taking a break from Instagram. @PeterShear has a knack for finding the most unexpected and unusual paintings from an artist which I truly appreciate.

Johnny Thornton (@_JohnnyThornton) – I follow a lot of amazing artists but right now I’m enjoying the work of @POWeiner. His work is just fantastic.

Jesse Draxler (@JesseDraxler) – @davidvonbahr

Richie Culver (@RichieCulver) – @Abstract.Mag

Martin Lukac (@Martin.Lukac) – @JanCerny_

Gabriele Herzog (@Gabriele_Herzog) – @annetruitt – An amazing combination of images with incredible writing by Anne Truitt

Cannon Dill (@CannonDill) – @Sauerkrautmissionary22

Mevlana Lipp (@Mevlana_Lipp) – @the_art_estate, @painterspaintingpaintings, @art.viewer to name a few.

Danny Romeril (@D_Romeril) – @florencebh @mickhutchings @ferguspolglase @greatartinuglyrooms

Florence Hutchings (@FlorenceBH) – @mickhutchings, @d_romeril and @art.kids.art

Catherine Haggarty (@Catherine_Haggarty) – my friend @eleanor.k.ray who shares so many amazing photos of her travels! – @ej_hauser

 

For more, we asked 45 artists

What They Did To Relax

What Was The One Thing About The Artworld They Wish Would Disappear Forever

What One Piece Of Advice They Would Give To Young Artists


Clutch // Agarrar – Robin Footitt interview

Clutch // Agarrar – Robin Footitt

Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon, Portugal

Opening: Wednesday 26th June 2019; 6 – 8pm

Dates: 26/06 – 07/09/19

Clutch // Agarrar

Tell us about your new body of work, am I right in thinking it ties in with your last exhibition in London?

That’s right, it has been 6 months since ‘Open Window’ at New Art Projects, London and I felt that I needed to develop and revisit this sense of loss when using your hands creatively on digital operating platforms. Open Window was thematically concentrated on the language shift of meaning from its basis as a means to escape towards a term for single-minded focus when working on a computer. The solo exhibition at Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon is titled ‘Clutch // Agarrar’ and is intended to reply to that instinct of snatching or grasping at something instinctively with your reactive hands.

It’s reasonable to say that the theme of detachment has reoccurred in many of my pieces, particularly in relation to hands – I’ve always been fascinated how hands can affect composition with specific signs in religious and historical paintings almost like their purpose is to gesture towards meaning. Personally, living as I do with a hearing impairment I always take gesturing as a clue to what I might not be hearing 100 percent of the time.

In Open Window you almost had three separate sections. Have you done that with Clutch // Agarrar and can you explain some of the pieces of work?

I’ve enjoyed the evolving language that the past two exhibitions at New Art Projects (Modern Grammar, 2016 and Open Window, 2018) have afforded me – working in the same space twice has given me the chance to play around with some of the disconnect I sometimes feel when working across different media outside of the studio. I see presentation as a medium in itself and the gallery space at Carlos Carvalho is vast and open – many works can be seen from one viewpoint and I want to see how these dynamics playout. So this was my starting point to develop new work, open space can sometimes give a virtual perfect thumbnail view of an artwork before you see it close up. I’m thinking of how colours were manipulated by the impressionists to see form when standing at distance from the canvas. So many of the works in Clutch // Agarrar operate differently when seen from those two points of view, an image will be solid and then unravel on closer inspection whether it be like the impressionists or from other forms of image manipulation. This has also meant that I have worked on a larger scale to realise such an impression from distance.

Clutch // Agarrar

What was the process of putting together this body of work?

Like I said previously, I needed to revisit a theme that came out of Open Window by facing it head on – a sense of loss when creativity is detached from touch and the mechanical use of your hands. I’ve been working on an intimate scale for some time, crafting larger work from smaller beginnings. One such beginning was the construction of cut paper collages using red, green and blue to replicate magnified pixels on various display screens from mobile phones, gaming consoles and digital tablets. I knew I wanted to show this work at the centre of the exhibition having previously used them to make patterned Lycra textiles and at Carlos Carvalho I have the opportunity to show these for the first time.

The Lycra artworks have returned but this time the stretching is minimal, I’m using the surface as a means to show subliminal images on top on the pixel RGB patterns with minimal distortion around the edges. An important work for me is a version of French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte’s ‘Les raboteurs de parquet’; the original painting revealed its process by having the floor strippers peeling away the wooden boards and in doing so took the surface back to the bare canvas beneath. This has always struck me as quite a performative painting, like you feel the action of stripping down the basics of painting and that gives it a very special energy. Now in the context of Clutch // Agarrar there is a disconnect when viewing the image as a composed screen of pixelated dots – just as there would be if you were to do an image search on your phone right now to look up the painting that I’m talking about. It would be backlit as if Caillebotte were painting with light itself fully realised rather than mastering its effects with paint and canvas.

Would you say that exhibiting in a new country adds some fear or excitement? Did you feel you were second guessing or working with more freedom?

I’ve approached this show with the idea of a new audience in mind, the majority will have never seen my work before and may approach it from a completely different context. I wanted to be sensitive to that, to have a clear objective and a strong visual element but then again I always enjoy the uncertainty of two opinions. Having a bilingual title was my way of introducing this thought of duality – the English term clutch has a host of meanings, I found out that it’s even used in sports as a way of describing someone who came through in a difficult or trying time. Now, I asked a Portuguese friend if there was a similar term and he gave me two suggestions “agarrar” which means to grab, grasp, hold, cling, seize, clutch… the other was “apertar” which is to tighten, press, squeeze, pinch, clamp, clutch… so even in this I was reinterpreting meaning! Ultimately it will be about finding an unsettled middle ground – I’ve also played with the Portuguese language in some of my titles, finding symmetry in palindromes such as ‘Luz AzuL’, ‘SaraS’ and ‘SeleS’. The visual influence of Lisbon is included in a use of repeated azulejo tile patterns from Museu Nacional do Azulejo as well as producing a tile pattern directly from a sample of ‘Les raboteurs de parquet’.

This will be your first time exhibiting with Carlos Carvalho but you also were featured last month at PHOTO LONDON at Somerset House. How have you found working with the gallery so far and how did the relationship begin?

It began with a recommendation from fellow artist Tatiana Macedo, who is represented by Carlos Carvalho and a good friend of mine for over 15 years. We studied together at Central Saint Martins art college 2001-2004 and have kept in touch. I curated a solo show of her photography and video at 4 Windmill Street, London titled ‘Seems So Long Ago, Nancy’ in 2012. The process with the gallery took 2 years from initial dialogue and meetings to arranging the dates and content for the exhibition – I feel excitement from both sides about my involvement in Lisbon and they were kind enough to invite me to show a series of works from 2014 called ‘Closed Circuit Saga’ at PHOTO LONDON art fair this May alongside some of their artists (Anthony Goicolea, Isabel Brison, Jessica Backhaus and Mónica de Miranda). Their interest and engagement with this work gave me the confidence to expect great things from our collaboration.

Clutch // Agarrar

So its fair to say you’re looking forward to this new experience? Carlos Carvalho has a strong emphasis on photography, where do you see the placement of your work in this context?

Absolutely! I see the focus on photography that the gallery upholds as a useful one when approaching the visual work that I make. I mean visual in the sense of an overall image, we live in a digital culture where even text information is read visually before the content is absorbed on websites and banners. The work was collected post PHOTO LONDON so as I speak the artwork has arrived ahead of me! With the time I have before arriving in Lisbon to install I have made plenty of notes for how to hang these pieces and researching the rest of my trip. For the first time I have collaborated with a graphic designer, Jacinto Caetano to continue this identity beyond the exhibition so even the title of show has a strong visual presence. I’m looking forward to attending the opening night on Wednesday 26th June.

 

Interview by Rowan Newton

@robinfootittart


SoEdited interview with Benjamin Murphy ahead of the opening of ANTIHERO

With a hint of Art Nouveau’s Aubrey Beardsley black lines and detailed patterns, Benjamin Murphy uses electrical tape to create and glamourise the female form. Creating a snapshot of a moment, a fleeting glimpse of inner thoughts via the gesture of a figurative movement.

Murphy is a stable part of the London art scene, yet not affiliated to any particular scene, and has forged out his own niche in the past 10 years.

SoEdited caught up with Benjamin to chat about his developing style.

 

SE:
Some of your early works document social situations. What was behind these ideas?

BM:
I try to depict people in unposed scenarios, as if we are seeing them during their private moments of inaction and introspection. For this reason I try to keep the actual action to an absolute minimum so as to leave the figures to be shown in contemplation rather than in the process of doing something. I want the work to feel very slow and quiet, but with the suggestion that more is going on in the characters mind – that’s where the action sits. These kind of scenarios can naturally look quite melancholic, and people can read into that whatever they like. I prefer to give the viewer as much scope to interpret my work as possible, and I think that any interpretation of an artwork is the correct one.

SE:
Some high-profile portraits have been part of your work. How is it to work with a subject, rather than just your imagination?

BM:
The actress Olivia Coleman commissioned me to draw her and her husband a few years ago, and they were both the loveliest people to work with, so that was an absolute pleasure. I went round their house photographing lots of patterns and objects to include in the background, so there were lots of sentimental items represented. They were very happy with the piece.

On the whole though, the portraits I’ve been commissioned to do have usually been much stranger subjects, which I think suits my work quite nicely.
I was asked a few years ago to draw Fred & Rose West, which meant that whatever I did, the work was going to invoke strong reactions. A few serendipitous and coincidental things happened, linking myself to them at the time I was making it, which was interesting.

soedited

Photograph by Nick JS Thompson

 

SE:
The male portrait and figure has very recently become part of you concentration in portraits. Why now?

BM:
I decided that I had been working very much within my comfort-zone, and so as soon as I identified that, it was time for a course-correction.

SE:
From your perspective. What is the difference between the male and the female as a muse?

BM:
The male figure is a lot easier to draw in general, as any slight diversions in line just appear as musculature. It’s harder to capture things like tenderness with the male form, but it’s important to challenge oneself with things like this, and to think about why these challenges may exist in the first place.

SE:
If we at SoEdited were to give you a commission, what would it be?

BM:
People keep asking me to do a self-portrait, which I always avoid. Perhaps it’s time.

SE:
When working in your studio, are you more comfortable being isolated or is it a social atmosphere?

SO:
My studio needs to be a very solitary place. Often I’ll spend days on one pattern, which can be unimaginably repetitive and my brain needs to pretty much switch off from it so as to be able to repeat the same action over and over again for hours at a time. The slightest distraction makes this progress very hard.

Aside from that my studio is less like the Baconesque studio most people imagine all artists to inhabit, and a lot more like a study or an office. There are lots of plants and books, and obviously lots of art works on the walls.

SE:
We have seen you grow into a very handsome man. What would you consider the attributes of being a handsome man?

BM:
“I am not an artist I’m a fucking work of art.” – Marilyn Manson

SE:
What was the last thing that offended you?

BM:
Offence is a very loaded term these days, and it’s been given more power than it deserves. People are so worried about offending or being offended that they completely shy away from debate, and opposing groups never interact. I believe that all topics should be on the table for discussion, even abhorrent ones, as the most successful way to tackle intolerance and bigotry is to undermine them in serious debate.
There are a lot of things politically that have been pissing me off recently, but for reasons stated above, I’m reticent to use the term offended.

soedited

Photograph by Nick JS Thompson

SE:
Have you been upset in the last 6 months. If so why…

BM:
I’m an eternal optimist, so not really no. I’ve seen a lot of sad things like everyone does, but I try to accept them and learn from them where possible.I’ve seen people die and relationships break down, but I am very much of the belief that we are not defined by things that happen to us, but by how we respond to such things.

SE:
You have an ability to be quite blunt. What is this bluntness?

BM:
Haha this is something I try to combat daily. I’m often quite indelicate! My friend Nick described my demeanour the other day as ”northern stoicism”, which is probably pretty apt – and absolves me from any responsibility, as it’s inbuilt and genetic.

SE:
What five songs define you?

BM:
The last five artists I’ve listened to on Spotify are:
Motörhead, Iggy Pop, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Slayer, Alice In Chains.

SE:
IS there a film that you wish you could have lived?

BM:
Nymphomaniac.

 

 

Benjamin Murphy – ANTIHERO
Delphian Gallery

Private view 03/07/19 18:00-2200
Paja&Bureau
Korkeavuorenkatu 7
00140 Helsinki

Show runs every day until the 11th.

Exhibition graciously supported by Paja&BureauCreat, and drinks for the private view supplied by Suomenlinnan Panimo

Tape kindly supplied by Cre8 Tapes


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


Fractured Integrity – Rowan Newton

Rowan Newton’s highly anticipated and long-overdue debut UK Solo Exhibition ‘Fractured Integrity’ opened at Jealous East for an exclusive 10 day launch, featuring 6 large-scale paintings and a series of miniature studies, marking a new direction in the artists work and a renewed, unique reflection on figurative painting.

Figures are poised in almost cinematic realities, instigating a sense of familiarity, yet these worlds are disrupted with sharp glitches and gestural sweeps of colour; a disrupted reality which isn’t quite as familiar as it first seemed. Motion swirls around the carefully constructed figures as they move through the canvas, expressed through the artists loose, confident and textural application of the medium and liberal use of vibrant colours which surrounds and interacts with them.

‘Fractured Integrity’ explores an emotive narrative, told through the female form with a series of frozen moments exploring the psychological darkness which accompanies our human need to connect; insecurity, power, isolation and vulnerability. Identity is subverted by the concealment or obscuring of the face, drawing our focus directly to the body. The gaze of the voyeur, however, is irrelevant. These characters recoil and turn away from our stares, an ambivalent nonchalance to our presence is created. Though beautiful and elegant, they make no attempt to seduce us with their naked forms. As we move past the beauty of colour, we are left with subtle suggestions of darkness, pain and anxiety, moments which create for the viewer a context to reflect on their own unique experiences.

 

Why did it take you so long to do a solo show?

I always knew that I wanted to produce a show that was more then a series of portraits. When I first started out I was painting figures. But after a couple of years I fell into this loop of constantly painting portraits. So I waited till something pulled me out of that. And then it hit me, nothing was gonna pull me out of that but myself. Like I was waiting for some devine intervention. But really I just needed to pull myself away from it, and start producing the work I really wanted to. That took time, and it took even more time to be really happy with what I was producing when I went in this new direction.

fractured integrity

Seeking Hidden Sins – Oil on canvas

Why did you decide that you needed this new direction?

I was tired of the box I had been put in by the galleries and the audience. “Oh you’re a portrait painter, we want the portraits” and I’m thinking, I’m a painter, full stop, not a ‘portrait’ painter. I wanted to remind myself I was capable of paintings more then a portrait. I wasn’t happy about the box I had fallen into and wanted to break free. Time has also helped with that. As it’s been a while now, people do seem to have forgotten about the portraits, or certainly aren’t so expectant that everything they see of me would be a portrait. Which is nice and refreshing.

Do all of the works feel like they are a part of one series for you, or is each work an autonomous piece?

It was important for me that this felt like a body of work when viewed together. There is a narrative to it all. It tells a story in a sequence. Which is explained to some degree in the zine I’ve made for the show. But at the same time I was very much aware that I wanted each painting to also stand up on there own individually. I really didn’t want the viewer to feel like they were looking at the same painting over and over again but maybe the colours had changed slightly.

In terms of the narrative, did you decide what this was going to be beforehand and then create works to illustrate it, or did the narrative develop from the paintings in retrospect?

At the start I was just painting. I took time to just paint anything but portraits. When in that zone, I think what happens is, what’s on your mind ends up coming through. How conscious you are of that at first I’m not sure. You step back from the painting look at it and think, wow ok where did that come from, and then days or even weeks later you realise that small thought at the back of your head really influenced the way you put paint down on the canvas that day. After a while of just painting it then naturally became apparent what was most important to me to communicate with this body of work. From there it became a conscious effort I’d say, so almost half way through. But lots of paintings were done at the beginning, communicating various things, paintings that will never be seen, that have now been painted over.

fractured integrity

Beyond The Shadow Of Doubt – Oil on Canvas

Where did the title Fractured Integrity come from, and what connection does it have to the paintings?

The title relates to the fact that u own your integrity. That’s yours and yours only, no one can take it from u. You’ll always have it. But people can question it, sometimes rightfully so, sometimes not, it’s just the other persons insecurities been forced upon you. Sometimes you will do things that are questionable, which can put your integrity under scrutiny. Other times it will be at its best. We are humans, our integrity will be up and down over our life time. Causing our emotions to be the same, which is what the paintings communicate. Emotions stirred due to your own actions and others. The fractured part is a reference to that fact that it can never be solidly good at all times, but up and down.

So how does the title inform the works themselves, and does this body of work feel complete and finished with the show, or will it continue?

The paintings represent different emotions, feelings we’ve all felt, moments we have all lived. The women’s face is hidden or partly covered, because it’s not about them in particular, but the feeling the painting evokes. Hopefully they start a dialogue with the audience about those feelings and emotions. In turn causing the audience to talk about those situations they have been through.

At this point the body of work feels complete for me. The paintings in my own head took a narrative arch. The story was told. I now look forward to the next story. In my head there is always a story to communicate with the art. A movie told in a number of stills as it were.

fractured integrity

Lost – Oil on Canvas

 

For more from Rowan, see his website HERE.

For more interviews

Making Bad Decisions – Richie Culver

Travel As A Source Of Inspiration – The Jaunt


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


55 Pages interview – about what we’ve been up to recently

Interview by: Hector Campbell
This Thursday, May 2nd, Delphian Gallery opened their latest exhibition ‘Some Pieces of Mind’, the debut UK solo show of French painter Bertrand Fournier, at Hoxton 253 arts space in East London. Ahead of the opening writer and curator, Hector Campbell, spoke to Delphian about Bertrand’s work, their recent Open Call, advice to emerging artists and plans for the future.

​Hector Campbell : This week you’ll be hosting Bertrand Fournier’s solo exhibition ‘Some Pieces Of Mind’, in Hoxton, I was wondering where and when you first encountered Bertrand’s work? What the progression involved from that moment up until presenting this exhibition?Delphian Gallery : We discovered his work on Instagram a few years ago, when he had just started painting, albeit in a fairly different way. We struck up a friendship, and have been chatting ever since. We first asked Bertrand to show with us around a year ago and we planned for a solo exhibition, his first solo in the UK. He showed us pieces that he was working on over a period of time and we then decided on the selection that will be exhibited this week.


​H.C : I understand you recently travelled to Bertrand’s studio in France to collect the artworks for the upcoming exhibition, how was that trip? Did visiting Bertrand studio give you a fresh insight into this creative process?
D.G : The trip was great! It was such an interesting insight to be able to see inside Bertrand’s studio and the way that he works. It’s also always a real treat to get to see unseen works and works in progress. Studio visits are one of our favourite things to do. Also an evening of cheese and wine with Bertrand and his wife was a highlight too.


​H.C : As a nomadic gallery, you’ve presented exhibitions at a number of different galleries and projects spaces not only in London but also internationally. How do you go about selecting the locations for Delphian Gallery exhibitions?
D.G : We usually select locations for our various exhibitions based on the artist involved and what we feel would suit their work best. We also have an ongoing partnership with theprintspace in Shoreditch, whereby we use their gallery space for certain shows that fit the aesthetic there and that have prints involved in the show.


​H.C : I was honoured to be one of the judges of this year iteration of your annual Delphian Gallery Open Call, which culminated in a two-week exhibition of prints at theprintspace in East London and with Rhiannon Salisbury being crowned the overall winner. What did you think of this year’s; submissions and final selection? And is organising the Open Call a process you enjoy?
D.G : This years submissions were fantastic! There was such a huge range of styles and mediums from people all over the world. We had over 10,000 submissions in the end which is mind- blowing, but also made the task of judging extremely difficult. We had 5 judges in total, and each received a long-list of a few hundred works. We wanted to make the submissions process as fair and as impartial as possible, and so we omitted all biographical information from the documents that the judges received. Each judge gave then gave the works a numerical ranking, all of which were collated to create the show. Each judge also got one ‘judges pick’, who was automatically in the show without needing agreement from the other judges.

Rhiannon Salisbury was the overall winner and we are extremely excited for her solo show with us later in the year!

H.C : I’ve seen posts suggesting that Delphian Gallery may soon be expanding into the podcast realm? Could you tell us more about this new project? And any guests you can
Confirm?
D.G : Yeah, we’re launching a brand new podcast very soon. We wanted the conversations to cover a range of different aspects of the art world so our guests range from artists and gallerists to curators and collectors. We’ve been recording a series of them ready for release and we’re really excited about it. In terms of guests, the first two we can tell you will be Andrew Salgado and Rosalind Davis, the rest will be announced in due time.

H.C : Finally, aside from Rhiannon’s solo exhibition awarded for winning this year’s Open Call, do you have any other exhibitions/projects on the horizon?

D.G : Our next exhibition is a solo show with Delphian co-founder Benjamin Murphy in Helsinki in July. We can’t really release too much information about that just yet, but it is coming soon. We are also planning our summer group exhibition and finalising the artists involved as we speak. It’s shaping up to be a great show with some of our favourite artists around at the moment. Most of the show will be artists whom we haven’t shown before, so it’s really exciting to be introducing some more people to the Delphian family.


Bertrand Fournier, ‘Some Pieces of Mind’, presented by Delphian Gallery at Hoxton 253, open Thursday, May 2nd, between 6-9pm, and then runs until May 17th.