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Field Notes: Painting the Anthropocene



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Thursday, 5 July 2018 to Saturday, 14 July 2018

This exhibition brings together the work of two artists who use the medium of paint to allow us to explore the limits of nature. In their very different ways, Smith and Le Hardy tear up their source materials of photographic documentary and encounter with landscape to produce a radical vision of habitats under the pressure of human presence. In this new age of the Anthropocene, these two painters mediate lost and repurposed human structures entwined with vegetal life. Old plastic piping creeping through allotment grounds, the soft decay of old wooden buildings on the boundaries of cities: through scratch, fleck, flake and drip, Smith and Le Hardy’s works remind us that what we consider ‘nature’ has always been framed through the aesthetic and that a new discourse of paint can help us to see the strange luminosity of a world in which the human is an always-tangible presence in the natural world.


Artist ( Description ): 

Paul Smith is an artist based in South West London. After initially specialising in photography at UCA, Farnham College of Art, he turned to studio practice as a painter in 2009. His current body of work, ‘Under Cultivation’, builds on his documentary training in a series that explores the repurposing of man-made materials in allotments and edgelands. The distance between photograph and painting is one means by which Smith denotes his own transformation of these peripheral sites. The blue or yellow yelps of old plastic sacking, the rusting white of forlorn gazebos, the granular smears of concrete slabs emerge in his paintings as objects of restrained meditation. The painterly elevation of these cast-offs questions established notions of picturesque nature: surrounding aboreal life is scraped back to the thinnest blur, as if a bloom of pthalo algae, whereas c­­­rumpled polytunnels demand to be taken seriously as an echo of the alpine sublime. 

Paul has exhibited widely in the UK and was recently part of the touring Contemporary British Painting Prize. This year he has been in residency with Staithes Studios Gallery in North Yorkshire followed by a solo exhibition ‘The Staithes Paintings’ and in late 2017 Don’t Walk Walk Gallery of Deal hosted his solo show ‘This is This’. Other notable exhibitions include The ING Discerning Eye (2017, 2016), Griffin Art Prize (2015), Neo Art Prize (2015) and solo shows ‘Noise Rings’ at Farnham Maltings (2016) and ‘The Ice House’ at Northampton’s The Sanctuary Gallery (2014). Previous selected group exhibitions include ‘Small Worlds’ PS Mirabel, Manchester, ‘Painting (Now)’ Studio 1 Gallery, London and  ZAP Open, Zeitgeist Arts Projects, London (2014, 2013). 

Venue ( Address ): 

1 Paved Court
Richmond Upon Thames

Other events from Paul Smith

Field Notes: Painting the Anthropocene
07/05/2018 to 07/14/2018

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