Cara Nahaul – installation view
The 2010 Jerwood Painting Fellowship provided Clare Mitten, health Cara Nahaul and Corinna Till with the opportunity to develop their practice, adiposity through £10, story 000 each in prize money and six months of mentoring from leading artists Paul Bonaventura, Stephen Farthing RA and Chantal Joffe. The exhibition now running at Jerwood Space in South London is the culmination of this project.
Cara Nahaul is the most classical painter of the three, using the traditional medium of oil on canvas. But underneath lies a more modern invention, as the paintings are based on photographs. Some of the images are very formal, others more casual, as Nahaul draws inspiration from her father’s homeland of India.
The paintings show soft, open faces painted with smooth, sometimes blurry edges. It doesn’t seem to be so much about the individuals, even though one image is an interpretation of a famous portrait of assassinated Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Instead there is a general feeling of gentleness about the portraits, a neighbourly lack of controversy.
While maintaining a core focus on painting, Corinna Till takes one step further by presenting her work through photographs. Leaning up against the gallery wall are four life-size images of Till’s paintings of gateways, held in place at the spots that inspired them. Natural textures of concrete and leaves are represented in broad strokes in Till’s paintings, creating an understated but strangely beautiful result. Till’s accompanying text speaks of making observations about material history and how things came to be the way they are, but even without the explanations of the conceptual meaning, it still works.
Clare Mitten’s work is the most liberal interpretation of painting, with collage and paper models being the main medium for the items on display. Mitten’s practice involves reworking technological items such as cameras and headphones, recreating them in Blue Peter-ish models and in 2D paper collages. Sometimes you can see the artist’s fingerprints in the glue, and at other times the original function of the modelling materials (toothpicks, loo roll inners) poke through – as to highlight how high-tech items may seem mysterious, but at the core they are still just a collection of components.
UK-based painters can apply for Jerwood’s 2011/12 fellowship grants on the website – closing October 2011.
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The Jerwood Painting Fellowships runs at Jerwood Visual Arts until 26th June, at Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10-5 and Saturday and Sundays 10-3.
The exhibition will be shown at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea between 9th July and 4th September.
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