A look back at the June Mostra 2016

In case you weren’t able to attend the June Mostra showing works produced by our seven resident artists from April to June, we have compiled our favourites from the official photographs of the exhibition (photographer: Roberto Apa). You can read the individual blogs published about each of the artists by clicking on an artist’s name.

The exhibition was made possible thanks to the kind support and generosity of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Australia Council for the Arts, the Helpmann Academy, The Incorporated Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Scholarships, The Linbury Trust and The National Art School, Sydney.

BSR - June 2016 - 039Gallery installation view

BSR - June 2016 - 021Gallery installation view

BSR - June 2016 - 025Corridor installation view

BSR - June 2016 - 028Foyer installation view

 

David Ryan (Abbey Fellow in Painting)

David Ryan, Variazioni Oblique dopo Balla Futurista, oil on linen, 15 x 20 cm, 30 paintings

 

Ross Taylor (Abbey Scholar in Painting)

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Ross Taylor, B, paint and ink on paper, 272 x 727 cm

 

Damien Duffy (Arts Council of Northern Ireland Fellow)

Damien Duffy, False Flag, mixed media, plinth, oil and acrylic on canvas, dimensions variable

Damien Duffy, Back Stab, oil on canvas, flowers, dimensions variable

 

Joseph Griffiths (Australia Council Resident)

Joseph Griffiths, Fountains, water, travertine, silicon, irrigation tubes, sound, dimensions variable

 

Deborah Prior (Helpmann Academy Resident)

Deborah Prior, Lupa, found woolen blanket, pillow, stain, mixed media, dimensions variable

 

Margaret Roberts (National Art School, Sydney, Resident in Drawing)

Margaret Roberts, left to right: Ground Plan, tulle, elastic, nails, 110 x 240 cm; Triangle & Circle, graphite, wood, nails, 300 x 300 cm

 

Rachel Adams (Sainsbury Scholar in Painting & Sculpture)

Rachel Adams, left to right: Unravelled 1, tye-dye fabric on timber, stainless steel, t-shirt yarn, 125 x 73 cm; Scuttle Shuttle Shuffle, laser cut acrylic, fabric, timber, t-shirt yarn, 50 x 48 cm; See Saws, laser cut acrylic, fabric, timber, 113 x 113 x 25 cm; Unravelled 2, tye-dye fabric on timber, laser cut acrylic, t-shirt yarn, 150 x 120 cm

June Mostra 2016 / Meet the artists … Margaret Roberts

With the June Mostra opening tomorrow we chatted to Margaret Roberts to hear about her work process and inspirations from being in Rome.

Margaret Roberts (National Art School, Sydney Resident in Drawing)

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Margaret Roberts has been thinking of Francesco Borromini’s Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane as inhabitable, rhythmical sculptures as much as buildings, and about how to represent them as such. One way is to begin the geometry Borromini is said to have used to devise their footprints by drawing its triangles at bodily scale, and then locate compass-arms for visitors to make its invisible curves.

From coming into your studio I can immediately see that you have the outline of a lot of different shapes on the walls and floor. How does this relate back to your work?

From early in my art practice I have worked with shapes in one way or another. In the beginning I used shapes more in relation to each other, as part of systems that produced objects. Later I used shapes in relation to the place in which they are located. This interest in shapes comes partly from my sculpture background, modified by my realisation that it is more economical spatially to make ‘objects’ from the found three-dimensional forms of buildings, in combination with ‘flat’ shapes. Even flat shapes that seem to just use the wall or the floor—that you can see here in the studio—can incorporate parts of a building through using its scale and activity as well its flat planes. I think of this interest in shapes as a type of drawing practice that sits half way between the process of planning, and the concrete physical space in which those plans are made to be carried out.

It also comes from an interest in representation, and the process of selecting parts to stand in for the whole.  Like many artists, I started with observational drawing, and later became curious about why we so automatically reduce everything to what it looks like on a flat sheet of paper. Whereas something may also have taste or smell, have other sides and angles, be occupied by people or things, and so on, and these things are usually left out as if they are less important than what something looks like. I am particularly interested in space—I always wonder at the physical space of the whole universe, where it came from, and why it is so overlooked. I realised that locating shapes in places, rather than on paper, is a way of making space more visible, a practice that I realised has a lot in common with Minimal Art.

One of my pieces in the upcoming mostra is intended to acknowledge that space through its potential for movement, where the energy needed to drive that movement comes from the space in which it is located—the energy of gravity in combination with people’s simple actions.  I am also situating it so that something is represented in advance of its realisation, on the grounds that If something hasn’t happened yet then its space is more ‘live’ because we are still waiting for it to happen.  I am fictionalising time in a sense—which of course hardly seems a fiction when you are in Rome.

So these are inspired by your visits to the churches of Rome?

Yes, I have visited a small proportion of the many more churches here, and Borromini’s stand out partly because of how they feel and look when you are inside them, and partly because of the systems that he is said to have used to design them.  In using one of those systems in both my mostra works, I am intending to refer to Borromini’s Sant’Ivo through the first stages of its construction.  These shapes you see on the floor here in the studio have been produced by the systems on the wall, systems that use triangles in conjunction with lengths of wood that enable visitors to temporarily mark out the curves that convert his triangles into the undulating shapes for which Sant’Ivo and San Carlo are known.

Was creating this work something you intended to do before coming to Rome or did your ideas evolve from being here?

They very much evolved. This idea of fictionalising time by remaking early stages of another work is an idea that I have worked before but it has somehow happened differently this time. I have never done it like this with a building as, even though I often use parts of buildings to make artwork, I have not thought so much about how you can design a building in this geometric way. It is new for me.  Borromini’s buildings are more like occupiable artwork than most, perhaps partly because of their scale, but perhaps also because they developed from a system that is like what we use in artwork.

Looking back at your three-month residency, what has been your favourite thing about living in Rome?

It has to be the proximity to the massive civilisation that occupied this space so long ago. That’s amazing. I feel like we live in its shadow here, and this shadow is temporal as well as spatial. It pulls us toward the past as an interesting type of counter to the attraction the modern culture normally has for the future.


Margaret’s work will be exhibited alongside the other six resident artists in the June Mostra opening on Friday 17 June 18.30-21.00. Opening hours: 16.30-19.00, Saturday 18 June until Saturday 25 June 2016, closed Sundays.

Photo by Antonio Palmieri, interview conducted by Katherine Paines.

June Mostra 2016 / Meet the artists … Deborah Prior

Over the next few days we will be introducing you in turn to our seven resident artists who will be exhibiting in the June Mostra on Friday 17 June. With the mostra opening in three days we met with Deborah Prior to learn about how she has spent her three-month residency and what her influences have been for the upcoming show.

Deborah Prior (Helpmann Academy Resident)

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Deborah Prior uses textiles to create ‘slipped anatomies’, sculptures that explore the physical and psychological realities of being and inhabiting a body – of our materiality with all its attending weight and anxiety.  Informed by the politics of the corporeal female body, and the status of domestic craftwork, this recent work considers the notion of sacred and profane relics.

You have spent a lot of your residency here travelling round Italy looking at churches and relics within churches, is that what you were planning on doing when you applied for your award here?

I had an exhibition about six months prior to applying for the residency where I was starting to get quite interested in Christianity within the context of my art practice, where I was very much engaged in the social and cultural implications of the corporeal (female) body. Previous research into the medical and scientific representations of the body – where it is quite often displayed in a fragmented state – led to an interest in relics and incorruptible saints. So my plan for Rome was to consider how the body has been used in both religious and secular spaces.

I had a rather sensible and dour Protestant upbringing, so I became really fascinated with Catholicism, particularly with the really rich and vibrant sensory offerings within Catholic churches. And since being in Rome, although I have been utterly overwhelmed with the architectural spaces (the Baroque in particular!) of the churches I have visited and might know a little more about Catholicism than when I started, I have been really taken with Catholic devotional practices such as the veneration of particular saints, and the private ex voto offerings or flowers that I have observed people bringing into these spaces.

Your work for the upcoming mostra is a textile sculpture. Where did your idea for this this piece come from and how have you progressed with it over the last few months?

Several weeks before I arrived in Rome I started looking at representations of the she-wolf. And of course the Lupa Capitolina is this ubiquitous piece of Roman iconography that you cannot help but see when you are walking about the city. During my PhD I wrote at length about theories of the monstrous and grotesque feminine: they have not always had the negative connotations ascribed to them as in recent history, and are really rather potent sites for disruption or subversion. I’d also read about the grotteschi discovered in the Domus Aurea during the 15th century so having looked at all this imagery of a beastly, almost monstrous feminine figure of the lupa, I felt compelled to engage with her and I think I’ve created a quasi-shrine to the she-wolf.

It’s quite a disjointed sculpture in some regards, because it isn’t solely about the she-wolf. It is also influenced from my visits around the churches of Rome: how you’ll have a Renaissance chapel next to a Baroque one, sometimes this is a rather jarring effect, and this is very present in my work. There are aspects of the reliquary too, with an embroidered stain.

The main shape of your work is very resemblant of a cushion, is there a particular meaning to this as well?

I have been using pillows and blankets in my work a lot recently. Within the context of Rome, I have been particularly interested in ‘sleeping’ saints: either effigies or the incorruptibles that are almost presented as though they are sleeping …. not to mention all the tombstones inlaid into floors. Sometimes they are so well-worn you can only just discern the outline of a (blank) face and the trace of crossed arms, but they are also resting on pillows. It is a different kind of wear, but I also use salvaged textiles and linens in my sculptures a lot because I see them as traces of the body, or sort of profane relics.

Pillows and blankets are also very specifically domestic materials. In contrast to the instances of “High Art” within churches such as painting and sculpture I have observed a theme of domestic care and maintenance within these buildings: from caretakers washing marble floors to the restocking of candles or the presence of potted and cut flowers. For some of my time in Rome I have been working on a piece of embroidery worked directly onto a BSR blanket. It has been such a privilege to have so much time to devote to the studio here at the BSR and a lot of this is due to the efforts of the domestic staff here: it is with their care that the artists and scholars here are able to get on with our research unheeded.

Your mostra piece has this large embellished stain on the top side, were you intending to have this juxtaposition between the decoration and the stain?

Definitely. Some of the larger relics – that are recognisably human-  that I have seen in Roman churches are quite confronting in themselves, but then they are housed in these elaborate reliquaries which are then variously decorated with very fine metal work, jewels, and expensive textiles like silks and velvets. I suppose this material inspiration that I have used is both for visual effect, but it also might be a way of dealing with our sort of leaky, corporeal existences.

There appears to be a two-layered element to your piece. The way you have designed it to hang resembles the chains of a thurible, whereas the underside is very recognisable as being influenced by the Capitoline Wolf statue. Did you want these things to be separate?

I work fairly intuitively, so I was heading towards particular type of hanging and then in hindsight realised it was influenced by the liturgical objects I had seen. Its distinct layers are also a reflection on the historical or architectural layers of the city. Like Rome, it is a sculpture of lots of different fragments. And the fragments I’ve used, when considering the body…well it’s become a composite or monstrous creature of its own right.

Finally from living at the BSR, have you found it a stimulating environment to work in, and what have you enjoyed most?

In terms of working here the best thing has really been the other people I have met and the fascinating connections you discover between your separate projects, be they artists or archaeologists or classicists. It has really expanded how I think about my practice and how I might take a multidisciplinary approach to future projects. I have had a lot of really fruitful dinner table conversations with fellow residents. I think the intellectual curiosity and generosity of all the staff and residents here makes the BSR a very unique place to live and work.


Deborah’s work will be exhibited alongside the other six resident artists in the June Mostra opening on Friday 17 June 18.30-21.00. Opening hours: 16.30-19.00, Saturday 18 June until Saturday 25 June 2016, closed Sundays.

Photo by Antonio Palmieri, interview conducted by Katherine Paines.

June Mostra 2016 / Meet the artists … Damien Duffy

Over the next few days we will be introducing you in turn to our seven resident artists who will be exhibiting in the June Mostra on Friday 17 June. With the mostra opening at the end of this week we meet with Damien Duffy to find out what artwork he has made for the exhibtion and how his residency at the BSR has affected how he appraches his practice.

Damien Duffy (Arts Council of Northern Ireland Fellow)

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Damien Duffy’s work continues within the thread of taking landmark works as ready-mades in order to shift their agency to address new meanings and contexts.  Looking awry at history painting these works co-opt an appropriation of Jasper Johns’ White Flag and Sturtevant’s copy of the same. False Flag opens the question on ambiguity of authorship that morphs into questions on recent history, counter narratives and 9/11. Back Stab similarly looks at the nefarious Operation Gladio within the ‘anni di piombo’ in Italy in the 70s.

This is your second mostra at the BSR, how has your work changed in the last three months and what have you chosen to exhibit this time?

Making the piece for the last mostra made me rethink how I approached my original idea and it is this reassessment that has been one of the most positive aspects from my time as a resident here, it has also given me more confidence to adopt a certain approach about how I make work.

I have two pieces of work for the upcoming mostra. In a strange kind of a way they are history paintings that have been born out of recognising the appropriation I used of Twombly’s motifs in order to deal with current events in the Mediterranean. That’s not to say I simply want my work to engage solely as history paintings because these works are a more skewed approach to history painting, like Hegels’ owl of Minerva hitting a sheet glass window, there’s a kernel of subversion in them.

They are looking at events within the 20th and 21st century, but through counter narratives. History is written by the victors, however with the super abundance of other information the victor’s narrative is now more vulnerable to counter narratives and these are often denigrated as conspiracy.

With the two pieces of work I’m making for this mostra, one looks at one of the pivotal events of the 21st century, 9/11. The title of the piece is False Flag and it harnesses a system of suggested references.

As soon as you paint an American Flag there is an immediate reference to the artist Jasper Johns as he made the American flag pivotal in his work. The second painting of the flag that I’m working with is Stutevant’s copy of the Johns.

The copy and the original together brings up the question of authorship, the pieces will be hung quite high on the wall with the stripes of the flags extending down the wall in a very mute grey, that also being an indirect reference to Daniel Buren, an adaptation of his work that gives the two flags the profile of the world trade centre towers.

The term ‘false flag’, although at first glance might reference a question of authorship, is actually a term used in a military event when a country attacks or stages an attack upon itself in order to attack a particular target or a particular enemy. So the false flag narrative or counter narrative is something that exists in the popular sub-cultural consciousness,this work then proffers this idea that there is another narrative to be looked at when concerning 9/11. These paintings along with a small sculpture of a tin foil hat in the foreground. This object inserts an element of subversive humour into this piece. Like a memorial to the fallen, with the helmet of a solders, or the folk memorials to first responders, so the tin foil hat represents the denigrating headgear of the conspiracy theorists. In its ambiguity it seeks to question the counter narrative as much as it profers it.

The other piece is an indirect reference to events in Italy during the ‘anni di piombo’ or the ‘Years of Lead’, a period of political instability in the 1970s and 1980s. Within my research of that which has come to light is the American intelligence’s involvement in generating some of the nefarious events of the 1970s in order to destabilise an Italian left-wing government. This suspicion that has been evidenced as ‘real’ in this case underpins the counter narrative in the other work. This piece is called Back Stab as it stabs backwards into history but it is also a back stab at making a political art, as it gets subsumed into an aesthetic.

This piece is made by a pouring of white lead paint over a black background – this gives an appearance of a lead mirror, alongside this a vase of white Gladioli, a reference to Operation Gladio. So what might appear as just a pretty piece of gallery decoration is basically the sublimation of this piece of political artwork into a generic aesthetic, or its subversive presence within these generic aesthetic references. It flickers between these two states.

Both of your pieces for the upcoming mostra have this 3D relief effect where the artwork extends beyond the wall. Is that an intentional move to create a theme in your work?

The flag piece is something that stems from the original painting from Jasper Johns and his intention to underscore the objecthood of the painting. It will always flicker between being a painting and a representation of the flag, but it is also a flag at the same time. However, one of the things that has come to light in how I approach making work here is a desire to keep pieces of work in as close proximity to the ‘real’ as possible. Trying to avoid distractions, stripping out the ‘painterliness’, make them more ‘in’ the world. They are not idealised, their matter-of-factness is what I’m trying to underscore.

Looking at your practice more closely, you seem to be someone who — once you have an idea — will work on it as you create the art. I have seen the False Flag piece a number of times during its creation and each time it is different. Do you often work in this layered process?

One of the things that has come to light in the process of working here is that I have made pieces of work that appear to be almost too complete at a very early stage of their creation. What I’ve learned from the residency is possibly allowing that ‘completeness’ to rest and work with it. With these two paintings, because they are concerned with a certain replication I’ve been trying to get that replication right. This has created its own problems that requires a renegotiation of how that looks and what I want in the work. The various transformations that you have seen are the physical evidence of where I have worked through it mentally and then physically changed tack.

Is there anything in your practice that has particularly changed since being here that you are wanting to take home with you. Either ideas or ways of working that you have adopted since being a resident of the BSR?

Definitely in terms of how I approach things, being at the BSR has given me more confidence in terms of how I approach making work, even though my work is primarily painting they come from a conceptual background and that has very much intensified here. In terms of taking ideas away there is a huge swathe of ideas that I have that I don’t have time to address here. I expect the processing of that will occur when I leave Rome and there is a very specific body of work which I want to make which will be specifically about my experience of certain aspects of Rome.


Damien’s work will be exhibited alongside the other six resident artists in the June Mostra; open 16.30-19.00, Saturday 18 June until Saturday 25 June 2016, closed Sundays.

Photo by Antonio Palmieri, interview conducted by Katherine Paines.

June Mostra 2016 / Meet the artists … Ross Taylor

Over the next few days we will be introducing you in turn to our seven resident artists who will be exhibiting in the June Mostra on Friday 17 June. With exactly one week to go until opening night we spoke to Ross Taylor about how his work has changed as he approaches his third mostra at the BSR

Ross Taylor (Abbey Scholar in Painting)

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Ross Taylor’s paintings are concerned with a language that is non-specific.  A kind of poetics where only condensations appear on the surface, attempting to model thoughts and ideas that seem to be impossible in a physical realm.  His research in Rome will focus on late medieval conceptions of virtual space and the techniques employed in portraying the sacred and the figureless.

I first have to address this enormous piece of work lying across the floor of your studio! Is this your piece for the upcoming mostra and when did you start working on it?

I started working on it a couple of weeks ago. It’s a bit unusual that I’ve been working on so many paintings during my residency but I’m only planning on showing one in this mostra. However, this new approach feels like a bit of a breakthrough for me. The work that I have shown at each mostra has been getting progressively larger and I began to realise that with these larger scale works comes a different logic, especially with concerns over how long they take and what this means when making them. I work into my paintings quite a lot, they can change ten or so times before I think I’ve finished and I do revisit paintings that I’ve already shown. In my studio in London I have a lot of work on the go, it takes a long time for me to think they are finished, and are independent of me. I like my work to be part of a family, so even after an exhibition, if my work starts to move in another direction, I like the other work to go with it.

But for this mostra, I feel I have taken quite a leap somewhere. I noticed that although I really enjoy making paintings on linen and stretcher, they’re not always doing all of the things that I’m asking of them. I think I needed to branch off and work on something slightly more unpredictable.

I really like working on this much larger scale but I do have to work so much faster as I’m using water-based ink and so it has a much quicker drying time. I have about a day to work on a section and then it’s dry. I’m hoping it’s going to be about 7 – 8 metres by the end but you can see which bits I’ve worked on each day, it’s like a catalogue of marks.

What was the catalyst for changing your practise so much?

I am trying to create an atmosphere in my work, I was talking about this to Damien [Duffy, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Fellow] actually , and specifically about the ‘weather’ in new paintings. Within the surface, there is always an allusion to another space, I want them to act as a rendering of an emotional place. But with the new work, when I paste them to the wall, it goes a step further. The speed, or should I say, slowness of the surface demands attention. I am slightly confused with how to view them and I really enjoy that.

I recently had a show in Sweden where I used printed images of my work and I really wanted to pursue this flatness. Since that show, I realised that it wasn’t necessarily the printed aspect of the work that excited me but it was more the relationship of the painting’s surface with the surface on which it is applied. In this new work, the paper is fused directly to the wall, it instantly becomes temporary but yet can’t be moved as the work will not survive without the wall. I was very effected by Fra Angelico’s frescoes in the Convent of San Marco in Florence; each of the cells were individually painted for each inhabitant. It creates a very specific audience – I was drawn to how they can only be viewed here, and now.

You’ve been an award-holder at the BSR for the last eight months, do you think that this progression in your work has been the largest difference you’ve noticed during your residency?

Yes, I was talking to James [Ferris, Derek Hill Foundation Scholar] about this, I think that the residency has given me a completely new confidence. I have been able to get into a routine where I’m getting up every day and making work in the studio without any distractions. In London that’s not the case, your time can be littered with stress and errands, whereas here I have had the space to really focus on certain areas of interest. When I think back to how figurative my work was in September I can see that my work has really been stripped down, one narrative at a time. It’s a really good thing, it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but just didn’t have the confidence.

And do you feel that being at the BSR has helped you move forward as an artist?

Just before I came here, I read about Danny Rolph [Rome Scholar 1998-9] and his own memories of how his work progressed at the BSR. You have such an opportunity to change things and you can definitely see a shift in people’s work. He has a great anecdote about a gust of wind blowing one of his paintings on paper onto the floor. It landed facedown, allowing him to notice the back of the work and the potential in this presentation. The type of detail or observation that perhaps may not have registered within the craziness of ‘normal’ life.

Being a resident artist here gives you the luxury of time, you definitely find out more about how you work. For me, it’s been transformative to discover there are so many alternatives within the processes I use!

 


Ross’ work will be exhibited alongside the other six resident artists in the June Mostra; open 16.30-19.00, Saturday 18 June until Saturday 25 June 2016, closed Sundays.

Photo by Antonio Palmieri, interview conducted by Katherine Paines

June Mostra 2016/ Meet the artists … David Ryan

Over the next few days we will be introducing you in turn to our seven resident artists who will be exhibiting in the June Mostra on Friday 17 June. With just over a week to go until opening night we joined David Ryan in his studio to find out more about him and his work.

David Ryan (Abbey Fellow in Painting)

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David Ryan’s work explores formal relationships through abstraction. These forms are always seen as in dialogue. In this way the paintings aim to find a way of embedding certain contradictions – between private and social, inner and outer, and autonomous and referential. The current paintings explore variations on Giacomo Balla’s work Insidie di Guerra. In this context, the language of Futurist dynamism is broken up, re-staged and slowed down. They reflect on the projections of Futurism – now being the past’s conception of the future and operating rather like an archaeological fragmented artefact or inscription.

Your work takes inspiration from the Italian artist Giacomo Balla. What is it about his work that you find so interesting?

Balla interests me for several reasons, I think he’s of that generation of artists who were trying to figure out what painting could do. The futurists to whom he belonged for a while were trying to do something impossible in painting, by attempting to create a process of motion, or paintings representing motion. After the experimentation with that, his work changes. What I’m particularly interested in is the short phase from 1915 to 1923. In this period his work moves to not being so interested in representing motion as much as he was in the futurist period, he becomes more abstract. His paintings also become more of an exploration of space. They try to figure out what pictorial space can do; flatness, depth.

In Balla we get a sense of a rhythm of a composition, and I am interested in looking at that. I think a lot of modernist work, like minimalism, tries to go against the idea of composition and uses the neutral spaces of the grid or the monochrome. I like looking at the idea of how one might approach composition again. Balla is a key person that I wanted to look at in relation to this.

Some of Balla’s work is in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, which you have visited, but have you found other artists that have interested you or surprised you in any way?

One of the great things about being at the BSR and being close to the art galleries and museums here is that I can research other paintings and painters that I wouldn’t normally be able to access, artists like Alberto Magnelli, Emiliio Vedova, Enrico Prampolini, among others. It’s very interesting to look at their work and how that particular generation of Italian painters who, in the wake of futurism and in between the World Wars, were trying to do something else with space and composition. As we speak, just this evening I’m going to an archive of an abstract painter, Giulio Turcato. He’s not someone whose work I know very well, but it is typical of the opportunities given to award-holders here at the BSR that this spontaneous trip to a unique archive in the artist’s studio and apartment was offered to me.

Have you found your work has changed from what you were working on before coming to the BSR? Are the set of paintings you have created for the upcoming mostra similar to the type of work you normally make?

I think there has been a change, there is a fluidity in the space, and I see these current paintings as a set of variations on a piece by Balla. There is certainly a musical sense of making variations from something. It’s definitely been an interesting key to thinking about this idea of space and temporality within painting – which re-connects with Balla. But also within this set of variations I wanted to take the paintings apart, to formally dismantle and reassemble the form in some way.

The other influence for me is more present within a set of larger paintings I made for the mostra at the Accademia di Romania in Roma, they are slightly different, slightly more formal in one sense. The larger paintings have to be more constructed, and have a relation to more architectural spaces such as wall decorations, mosaics, tiles etc., which, of course, I have experienced in Rome.

Has the gallery space that you will be exhibiting in within the BSR influenced your work?

Not so much to be honest, I had in mind already the idea of producing these smaller canvases, and it has been very liberating. It is less of a construction and things can happen quite differently within the work of this scale.  Both the mark-making and the viewing situation are framed differently by this very small scale. Yet grouped together they become much more expansive and about a kind of comparative looking.

I have been looking at the patina of things in Rome. Particularly the frescoes I have also been looking at the Etruscan art at Villa Giulia. The ceramics and frescoes are amazing.  Wall paintings are always scarred by time, and this has made me want to intervene in the surface of my paintings more. Sometimes I make a print of one painting and print it onto another, the surface gets disturbed. This has the effect of slowing down gestures, of creating surfaces that are at odds with each other.

What has been the most interesting thing about your residency at the BSR?

I think it’s been the conversations, with other people from different disciplines, it’s clarified certain things. I am very interested in Classical history, as well as the various histories of Rome, and being able to have those conversations has really helped. To bounce ideas off people, for them to come into the studio and make comments that I hadn’t thought of creates a very creative environment, which is particularly good for an intense residency like this.


David’s work will be exhibited alongside the other six resident artists in the June Mostra; open 16.30-19.00, Saturday 18 June until Saturday 25 June 2016, closed Sundays.

Photo by Antonio Palmieri, interview conducted by Katherine Paines