Vitalistic Fantasies exhibition poster

We are delighted to announce that Vitalistic Fantasies is opening at Elysium Gallery Swansea.

An expanded version of the exhibition originally planned for 2020 BEEP Painting Biennial will open on 4 June with works by painters from the artist led group Contemporary British Painting curated by Paula MacArthur and Casper White.

The title of this exhibition is taken from the introduction of Isabelle Graw’s 2018 book, The Love of Painting in which she argues that aliveness of paintings is created not only through the specific ways in which painters personalise their paintings through the traces of activity on the resulting work, but also through the projections of the viewer onto the painting.

She writes: “One key reason I call these fantasies “vitalistic” is because they imaginatively assume qualities of living beings such as subjectivity, liveliness, and animation for dead material. In a vitalistic fantasy, human attributes – like self-command, will, and energy – are projected onto lifeless material”.

The resulting record of the painter’s activity, however energetic or quiet, is suggestive of the artist themselves, the viewer is compelled to project an imagined personality onto the work.

When describing their working process painters often talk about paintings ‘painting themselves’ or ‘leading the way’ in the same way that novelists describe their characters as writing their own narrative. As a work develops its personality evolves and the painter intuitively follows.

Members of Contemporary British Painting come together at Elysium Gallery in an attempt to bring a visual conversation to Graw’s ideas and consider how her argument resonates within their own individual practices. These painters present us with images onto which we project ourselves, they are storytellers, colourists, mark makers, fantasists and so are we.

Download the online catalogue with an essay by Dr. Catrin Webster (7Mb).

Artists: Susan Absolon, David Ainley, Iain Andrews, Amanda Ansell, Karl Bielik, Claudia Böse, Day Bowman, Julian Brown, Marco Cali, Ruth Calland, Jules Clarke, Deb Covell, Lucy Cox, Gordon Dalton, Pen Dalton, Lisa Denyer, Natalie Dowse, Nathan Eastwood, Geraint Evans, Susan Gunn, Alex Hanna, Suzanne Holtom,  Marguerite Horner, Barbara Howey, Phil Illingworth, Linda Ingham, Rachel Lancaster, Bryan Lavelle, Andrew Litten, Paula MacArthur, David Manley, Enzo Marra, Nicholas Middleton, Paul Newman, Stephen Newton, Joe Packer, Stephen Palmer, Ruth Philo, Alison Pilkington, Narbi Price, Freya Purdue, James Quin, Katherine Russell, David Sullivan, Harvey Taylor, Molly Thomson, Ehryn Torrell, Judith Tucker, Casper White, Joanna Whittle, Sean Williams.

Elysium Gallery, 210 High Street, Swansea SA1 1PE

Private view: Saturday 4 June, 7pm
Exhibition dates: 4 June – 16 July 2022
Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Admission free