Narbi Price’s work involves journeys to specific places that have witnessed a range of events – variously historical, famous, personal or forgotten. He researches the precise location of a chosen event and, working from photographs taken at the site, makes paintings in the studio focussing on the abstract, formal and painterly qualities of the resultant images. This process removes the conscious choice of subject matter; he must work with whatever is present at the spot. Whilst clearly photographically derived, the paintings use the language of abstraction to simultaneously acknowledge and disrupt the representational image. The paint is transparent, opaque, glossy, matt, dilute and impasted, often within the same work. The viewer is not immediately made aware of the specific histories of the sites and is given space to wonder about the multiplicities of events that might have taken place, an effect heightened by the painting method. The experience of the work shifts as we become aware of the provenance of the depicted sites. The use of disparate techniques and deliberately disharmonious compositions push the works to the point where they teeter on the edge of dissolution. The intention is to produce a subtly disorientating effect in the viewer – there is an awkwardness or sense of unease about the images, but it is not immediately obvious why.
Narbi Price is the Journal Culture Awards Visual Artist of the Year 2018, and the winner of the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017. He was featured in Phaidon’s Vitamin P3 – New Perspectives in Painting and was a prizewinner in the John Moores Painting Prize 2012.
His PhD from Newcastle University, studied the legacy of the Ashington Group also known as the Pitmen Painters.