No 20 presents Ceremony: an exhibition curated by Jim Threapleton featuring works by Mike Ballard, Teresita Dennis, Philip Gurrey, Arthur Lanyon, Claude Temin-Vergez, Sarah Shaw and Jim Threapleton.
Painting has much of the ceremonial about it. Studio practice is riven with ritual. Image becomes contingent on a material act of faith, on a roll of the dice. While using disparate visual vocabularies, for these painters ceremony is a common language of chance, improvisation, and surface.
Taking its inspiration from surrealist French philosopher George Bataille, whose use of language embraced risk and chance to undermine cultural structures, Ceremony brings together a group of artists fascinated by how paint moves — both in terms of plastic immediacy and subjective potential.
Mike Ballard uses the territorial markers that form the boundaries between public and private property to re-evaluate visual codes and image hierarchies of contemporary urban society. Teresita Dennis makes direct and physical contact with the surfaces she works with, developing processes and strategies for creating from her body in movement. Philip Gurrey’s paintings explore the tension between gesture and surface via a vernacular of political slogans and twenty-first century signifiers. Exposing the sediment of material process, Arthur Lanyon uses compositional tension to trigger unreliable memory and association.
Claude Temin-Vergez develops forms that traverse identifications: from sexual connotation, through Baroque ornament, to nature. Jim Threapleton explores the figurative possibilities of abstraction through historical remnants of vanitas painting and the kinetic, indeterminate potential of mark making. Sarah Shaw employs a process of improvisation that allows her to excavate fragments of form to investigate memory as an abject state.
No 20 is a new centre for Contemporary Art in the heart of Islington. Envisioned as a multi-functional space, No 20 hosts a programme of exhibitions, performances and events that support emerging and established artists working across all media.
Ceremony will be running until 9 June.
20 Cross Street
London N1 2BG
Monday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm