Wednesday, 19 May 2010

NEW BRITISH PAINTING at Gallery Kalhama & Piippo Contemporary, Helsinki

Featuring: Emma Bennett, Nadine Feinson, Sam Jackson, Alex Gene Morrison, Dominic Shepherd, Gavin Tremlett

Co-curated by Zavier Ellis & Pilvi Kalhama

Supported by The British Council

Private View
Thursday May 20th 2010 5-7pm

Panel Discussion
Thursday May 20th 2010 3-4pm

Exhibition Dates
Friday May 21st 2010 - Sunday June 20th 2010

Gallery Kalhama & Piippo Contemporary Ltd, Mannerheimintie 3 B, 5th Floor, HELSINKI 00100, Finland


Gallery Kalhama & Piippo has the great pleasure to open the group exhibition "New British Painting" showcasing six painters for the first time to the Finnish public. The exhibition is curated by Zavier Ellis, director of CHARLIE SMITH london, and Pilvi Kalhama. The exhibition is a continuation of the gallery's thematic group shows and is arranged with the support of the British Council.

A panel discussion with the curators and artists Sam Jackson and Dominic Shepherd will be arranged on Thursday the 20th of May at 3pm, before the opening reception.

The YBA (Young British Artists) school of the 1990s and the London art scene became an area of high intensity that was of interest to the entire art world, along with artists like Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin. At the same time art itself became deeply wrapped up in theoretical and conceptual explanations. Today, the art world is still following the London art scene but is the situation the same as before? In the past years both the art talk and the large scale spectrum of installations have been questioned by artists. What are the questions preoccupying the minds of today's artists living in this metropolis of great ethnical diversity?

"Today's British art is more an art of differences and divergence than of sameness. Many artists wish to separate themselves from their famous predecessors both stylistically and in their subject matter. They'd rather focus on individuality and personality. Even the viewers of today call for art to unfold on a personal level.

In the body of work of many British artists one can see a radical difference to large-scale painting. However, the contemporary artists working with miniature scale paintings still pose large-scale questions - of sexuality, personality, the self, affinity and strangeness. One thing in common with their predecessors is the glimpse of provocation. An essential concern is still a certain elegance, or a breeze of traditionality. The grand - but often personal and somehow queer - statement raised from the current time is concealed in aesthetical attire. This is typical London today and those tendencies are the ones we want to show in Finland."
- Pilvi Kalhama, director of Gallery Kalhama&Piippo Contemporary

"In the post-YBA era there is an open acknowledgement of the historical canon of art, typified most directly in this exhibition by Emma Bennett (b.1974) and Gavin Tremlett (b.1977) and to some extent Sam Jackson (b.1977), where that history is embraced to a degree whereby the historical is assimilated into the contemporary without irony or cynicism. The historical is mined to the point where it can be appropriated or transcribed, and reconfigured into the personal. A subjective idiom is established that equates to the artist's internal critical model to reveal constant preoccupations of the human psyche: beauty, loss, transience, alter-ego and alternative realities being some such examples.

Indeed, it has to be accepted that art must perform some kind of function other than visual indulgence and a fundamental purpose has to be an engagement with the other, both for the artist and audience, through which one can take flight from the everyday. Nadine Feinson's (b.1959) fascination with the monstrous; Dominic Shepherd's (b.1966) eerily populated landscapes; and Alex Gene Morrison's (b.1975) acidic figure, landscape and interior paintings become windows to other worlds. The magical and mythical entice and warn us to proceed but proceed with caution. Deathly dark powers are at work in these hinterlands as beauty and terror simultaneously seduce and threaten, as we are invited to engage with and decipher interior worlds by means of representations of the exterior.

My hope is that a certain sensibility will render manifest in order to reveal current preoccupations of today's British painters, who in this case were all schooled in and mostly still work from London. There are recurring interests that underpin a segment of rising British painters, some of which are expressed in this exhibition."
- Zavier Ellis, curator and director of CHARLIE SMITH london



You are invited to follow the discussion about the internationalization of artists, the expectations of the art world and national character of art on Thursday 20th of May at 3-4 pm at Gallery Kalhama & Piippo Contemporary. The opening reception of New British Painting will take place after the panel at 5-7pm.

Participating in the discussion:

Zavier Ellis, curator, gallerist, UK
Sam Jackson, artist, UK
Dominic Shepherd, artist, UK
Marko Mäetamm, artist, head of fine arts department, EE
Erki Kasemets, artist, EE
Silja Rantanen, artist, professor in painting, FI
Pilvi Kalhama, moderator of the panel, FI

Arranged in cooperation with The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and the British Council.

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