We are constantly exposed to images. It is one of the defining characteristics of life in London. The dominant role of the image and the visual in contemporary culture is acknowledged and thoroughly documented whilst the suppression of our other faculties is less widely recognized.
Simon Callery’s new paintings display awareness that an overemphasis on image and the visual set a limit on what can be communicated by an artist and on what can be experienced by the viewer. Informed by contact with archaeological excavation sites around the Thames estuary and urban architectural form and dimensions, Physical Painting, is a reference to the artist’s process of making as well as the broad sensory experience the works offer the viewer.
In these new works highly saturated pigments are embedded into washed and softened canvas, which are often soaked for weeks. Large-scale canvases are stitched together – roughly in places – with loose threads showing. Some works reject the traditional stretcher altogether whilst others are organic and circular shaped canvases cut open to reveal the interior body of the work. It is in this compelling physicality where a link is found between the constructions of the artist and the way we are enticed bodily to move – to interact physically with the work as a viewer.
Callery’s new paintings find their physical form and surface qualities through the desire to communicate to the viewer as a total and multi-sensory being. This has involved a recasting of the material elements of painting to new roles. An encounter with these paintings encourages movement in the viewer engaging the senses in an unmediated and lived experience.
To coincide with the show at FOLD one of Callery’s large-scale paintings will also be on display in The House Of The Nobleman exhibition. (14th – 20th October) Located at 2 Cornwall Terrace in Regents Park and just across from Frieze Art Fair, this show includes works by Picasso, Poussin and Cezanne.