Dublin in Retrospect 2016 | Acrylic and Ink on Canvas | 100 x 150cm | Stevie Appleby

Alternative Realities
Stevie Appleby, Nick Carrick, Ilona Szaley and Joshua Uvieghara

Saturday 2nd April - Sunday 1st May
Private View: Friday 1st April 6-8pm

Our spring exhibition ‘Alternative Realities,’explores the realms of abstraction and figurative realism as popular elements appearing in recent contemporary art. The four exhibiting artists mix reality with abstraction in different ways - through materials or process or within the actual subject - resulting in works that range from figurative representations with recognisable but reduced iconography to more graphically abstract works.

There has been an increasing marginalisation of the great tradition of painting in the decades up to 2010. The question as to whether painting, as a genre, was still relevant was raised in art schools, art history departments, museums and international exhibitions. This scepticism related to whether the flat two dimensional surface of a canvas had been undermined by the layered space of the computer screen, the roving eyes of the digital camera and the availability of 3-D movies. In other words, had continuous flux become the fundamental artistic experience?

The painters in this exhibition think not. Whilst they refuse to believe that painting has nowhere to go after abstraction, they see no obligation to revert to a more visually accurate rendition of the world, in the manner of their forebears. Instead they have all found a unique way of illustrating the world we live in, either by tapping into their subconscious, or finding novel ways of depicting images that are strange, yet strangely familiar.

Within the paintings by Nick Carrick, images inspired from things in real life have been cut loose but are never entirely free from their origins. Admired by other painters for his skilful handling of paint, his subtle controlled colour palette and his composition, his images become contemplative places, nostalgic for a sense of peace in this frenetic, demanding world.

Joshua Uvieghara is demanding of his materials, determined to explore their possibilities, and root out the deficiencies of visual language. He experiments with household gloss paint, some areas within the same canvas can be left completely abstract, while other areas are treated with more controlled handling and re-introduce figurative elements. The result is a vibrant collision of colour and intrigue.

Ilona Szalay, born In Beirut, studied English at Oxford, Art at Central St. Martins and the Bryam Shaw school of drawing, and now lives in Italy. This peripatetic life style has no doubt contributed to her artistic sensibilities. She uses a highly distinctive colour palette and concise visual language to create unresolved images that explore our preconceptions of beauty, dominance, violence, submission and control. In 2014, Rebecca Wilson, head curator of Saatchi Art, selected Ilona as one of fourteen artists worldwide to invest in, so she is definitely an artist to watch.

And finally Stevie Appleby, falling perfectly into the category of l’art brut’– a term originally coined by Jean Dubuffet in the 1940’s, inter alia, to describe an artist who, although formally untrained, creates art intuitively, from pure and authentic influences. L’art brut is seen as the art of the subjective, the engrossed pursuit of configurations stemming from the artist’s subconscious. This is what Stevie Appleby does, and this process of creation enables him to move seamlessly between the genres of art and music, at times it is unclear where the distinction ends with words frequently spilling over into his paintings. His paintings, like the lyrics and harmony of his songs, are deeply affecting because of their raw unguarded honesty.

The result is a bold, visually arresting exhibition, with artists from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy, whose work embodies some of the most exciting developments in contemporary painting today.

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Project Gallery
63 High Street Arundel
West Sussex BN18 9AJ
Exhibiting Contemporary Art