Painting Now – 5 Contemporary Artists at Tate Britain – Exhibition Guide…

Very inspired by PAINTING exhibition at TATE Britain. So great to see paintings given attention and a platform in a climate where contemporary painting still feels to some extent, neglected.
I was particularly taken by Simon Ling’s paintings – very painterly and gestural but still figurative. Not huge but a good size with a subtle balance of muted and florescent colour which he got away with. His concern with the everyday was of less interest to me that his beautiful handling of the paint. Again the colour palette seemed specific and selective in each piece and the use of bright neons on the initial ground bind the later layers together and show traces of marks and records of gestures.

Simon Ling
Simon Ling makes landscape paintings in the open air
directly in front of his motif where his subject matter is
found in nondescript urban or rural landscapes. He also
constructs tableaux, which he then paints in his studio
as a form of still life composition. While these studio
constructions are wholly artificial, his landscape paintings
depict places that might seem mundane or banal, where
categories of artifice and nature shift – London Zoo,
scrubland, or most recently the buildings around Old
Street in London. By painting streetscape images Ling is
not undertaking a project of straightforwardly observing
and recording the shops and office buildings, but instead
follows an approach to painting for which perception
is central. For Ling, looking is not a process of passive
observation but always an involving and unique act.
The act of painting being an event about time and
emotional connection and response – between him, the
material of paint, the motif and what results as a painting.
It was this idea which really captured what I consider to be really what I need to understand and engage with more actively when making work – again this is living in the process and not having eyes on the finished product. Also found this article from the Guardian – a heart warming why painting still matters…hasn’t it always?!

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