Articles Tagged with: interview

Episode 4 of the Delphian Podcast is now live! Copy

Episode 4 of the Delphian Podcast is NOW LIVE!

episode 4

We sit down with long time Delphian friend and Beers London artist Andrew Salgado at his London studio. Andrew, a Canadian painter has been based in London for a long time now and we and discuss social media, politics and theory in art as well as consistency in an artists output.

 

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

 

 


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


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


The Delphian Podcast – FIRST EPISODE

The Delphian Podcast is NOW LIVE!

the delphian podcast

For this first episode, we sit down with Kate Mothes, a curator and arts organiser currently based in the American Midwest. Kate runs Young Space, a curatorial project and online platform which emphasises new and exciting work by early-career and emerging artists. We talk about how it is to work outside of a major arts hub, online exhibitions, and how social media is changing the landscape for the arts.

 

The first episode can be listened on our website HERE, or on Spotify or the Podcast app.


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


Bertrand Fournier Interview

bertrand fournier interview

Some of the works in Bertrand’s studio

 

We are very excited to be hosting Bertrand Fournier’s debut UK solo show this month, and decided to ask him a few questions about his work during the run up to what is an amazingly accomplished show for such an early-career artist.

 Why and when did you start painting?

 It was in November 2016, I started painting with my daughter. My mother had given me an old frame with no canvas, so I have buy a canvas for my daughter and one for me, just for try.

  How did you teach yourself?

 I immediately began to paint with oil because my wife had in her childhood belongings some old oil paint tubes, she explained me that it was necessary to mix a medium with the oil,  after there is not much more to know, I had to try all the mediums and all the possible techniques, trade canvases, raw canvas, glued canvases, stretched or glued on wooden panel, it is by trying we learn.

  The title of your exhibition “Some Pieces of Mind” seems to refer to your work as a nurse in a psychiatric ward.  What parts of your daily life affect your art?

I am inspired by what surrounds me, my daily life and also my job as a nurse in psychiatry emergency has strongly influenced me.  Certainly it is a very hard work where we see a lot of human and social misery but the fact of being permanently confronted with this madness, necessarily opens the spirit.  Where the common man is limited to decency, the people who work in this environment know that the human mind knows no limit.  That’s what I try to apply in my work, to refuse to lock my mind.

  Have you found a community online?

 Yes, we are quite numerous to have started at the same time to post our paintings on Instagram, I think it’s a bit like school, we are part of the same class, we will grow together I hope, I  think they will recognize but if you want some names I will give you @christine_liebich @umutyasat @wmlachance @d_a_n_i_e_l_j_e_n_s_e_n @jordykerwick @philip_geraldo @jean_baptiste_besançon @jenny_brosnski @mateusz.sarzynski @benjaminmurphy_ @clement.mancini @mariehazard @jessietaylorart @yvonnerobert_ @gabriele_herzog @richieculver @sorensejr @jonathanryanstorm

  Do you have an art community near you?

 No

  Where do you find inspiration?

 All I hear and all I see.

  What are the living living painters you admire?

 Gunther Forg.

  What advice on social networks would you give to emerging artists?

No special advices, just be yourself ! But personally i think the Social networks can become like a prison, it was very good for me because without Instagram no one could have discovered my work.  I’m trying now to take some distances from this little by little.

  What would you like to know about the art world when you started?

 I have no artistic training, I started in the process to decorate my house not in the process of becoming an artist so I can not say what at the beginning I really wanted to know about this world.  Now I have discovered enough, the other side of this world is not very glorious, I’m happy to surround myself with good people with real good intentions because there is a lot of fuck as well in artists than in galleries in this world. It’s not the Care Bears’ world.

 

We are very happy to be releasing lino PRINTS alongside the show, which can be viewed by clicking this link.

 

For more by Bertrand, click this link.


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