Curated by Charley Peters
The Crypt: 18th January – 24th March 2017

Lisa Denyer | Ian Goncharov | Phil IIlingworth | Sarah Longworth-West | Lee Marshall | Laurence Noga | Playpaint | Clare Price

Panel discussion Saturday 18th March 2-4pm: Painter, Curator and Director of Turps Gallery Juan Bolivar in conversation with Merge Visible artists Lisa Denyer, Ian Goncharov, Lee Marshall, Clare Price and exhibition curator Charley Peters.

Merge Visible brings together a group of British painters who combine multiple visual elements or processes, enabling many fragments of information to be seen simultaneously in one assimilated painted image. They engage with techniques of layering and juxtaposition as a means of exploring the materiality of paint, creating new meaning from disparate forms and disrupting the syntax of pictorial composition.

‘Merge Visible’ is an action in Photoshop whereby separate layers are compressed together to make one unified image. This flattening of pictorial elements into a consolidated viewpoint is symptomatic of our everyday experiences in the contemporary image world, in which a constant stream of rapidly shared simulacra enter our consciousness hundreds of times each day on television, computer and phone screens. In his 1435 treatise on painting, ‘De pictura’ (English: ‘On Painting’) Leon Battista Alberti declared his consideration of the frame of the painting as ‘an open window through which I see what I want to paint.’ Today we are used to seeing multiple windows at the same time, and through them we fluidly experience a stream of pixelated images. We are living at a time when the virtual space of the digital screen is the prevailing means by which we view and understand the world – often seeing several ‘windows’ at once full of images, icons and texts which can all have their own individual temporal, spatial, and aesthetic registers. Within the scope of our vision these disparate components are given meaning in relation to each other, coming together into a perceptual meta-logic.

The artists shown in Merge Visible do not execute their work using digital imaging techniques, but instead construct the pictorial experience in similar ways, bringing traditional painterly tropes into dialogue with our experiences of reading space, material and subject in the contemporary image world. The digital environment has influenced the way in which we understand pictorial conventions; the layered logic of Photoshop has affected our comprehension of colour, depth and volume, its painting tools our recognition of a distinct quality of line, and the multitude of windows visible on our computer screens at one time has normalised fragmented spatial composition – all of which relate to the formal considerations that lead to an artist’s application of paint to surface. In our cut-and-paste culture the combination of numerous painterly elements is both symbolic of an ever-generating visual environment and simultaneously transcends it, reinforcing the physical textures and haptic qualities of the painted surface as a contrast to the dematerialised space of the screen. The paintings included in Merge Visible are at once suggestive of our vast yet disembodied relationships with the image in the digital age, yet they remain manifestly ‘painterly’ in nature.

PV: Tuesday 17th January, 6-8pm

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