Ashes to Art:
Experiments in Paint
Black paint encroaches on the centre of two white circles, like a growth round the outside of a petri dish. That analogy seems appropriate enough – until Griffin Gallery curator Mathew Gibson explains what I'm looking at.
Here at the In Residence exhibition, materials are full of surprises.
The pigment was, I discover, created from the ashes of Bea Haines's great uncle. The work, Jack's Black, is the final outcome from a series of painstaking experiments that Haines conducted with animal ashes in the ColArt paint laboratory somewhere in the towerblock above our heads.
At most Griffin Gallery shows, its proximity and connection with ColArt - home of Winsor & Newton, Liquitex and others - seem incidental. Not here. As the gallery brings together 18 artists from the past two years of its residency programmes, the exhibition feels like a series of studies in paint for which the laboratory itself has been the silent curator.
You'll find emphatic swirls and slashes on fine mesh fabric by Antoine Langenieux-Villard. His work's clean lines and unnerving translucence bring to mind a digital artwork that has somehow taken form in the analogue world. Opposite, Odilia Suanzes' fine grey streaks cover a large-scale canvas. The ethereal wateriness of the texture could be from a book of fairytale illustrations with one crucial difference: the central scene is missing. The technique itself becomes the subject.
You can also watch drone footage of Corrie Baldauf's Gold Zero, a White Noise collaboration that saw 200 litres of gold paint take the shape of an oval on an empty car park roof.
From art school students to established practitioners looking to research new techniques, the collection here is eclectic. Yet the urge to redefine the simple process of paint on paper unites them.
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