29 July to 23 September 2023

Opening Preview: Friday 28 July, 6-8pm

Bex Massey: Plus One, 2022, oil on canvas, 100 x 100cm.

Mark Fairnington: Trunk, 2021, oil on panel, 14 x 22cm.

Michael Petry: ‘Apollo (Gold)‘. 2019, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100cm.

Martin Greenland: ‘The Unredeemed‘, 2008, oil on linen, 81 x 61cm.

Cross Lane Projects is pleased to present Landscape of the Gods, featuring paintings by artists Julian Cooper, Mark Fairnington, Alex Giles, Martin Greenland, Lee Maelzer, Bex Massey, Michael Petry, Alun Williams and Rebecca Scott.

The exhibition brings together the work of nine artists to explore an interconnection with the landscape, the ceremonial, the mythical, the man-made, the dystopian, the inhabited and the emotive.

The idea of the exhibition, curated by painter Rebecca Scott, initially developed from a conversation with the artist Michael Petry, in which they discussed Petry’s ongoing visual investigation into the places of the Gods, and Scott’s own emotive exploration of the Cumbrian landscape which surrounds her.

Through his paintings, Michael Petry celebrates the ceremonial, memorialises the mythical, and acknowledges, honours, and explores the deeper spirits within us whom we all feel and hear, yet have found hard to name. For Petry, our belief (or disbelief) in the Gods is of no importance to them, for we are mortal whereas they are divine.

Following his own investigation into characters from history and religion is Manchester born Alun Williams, whose paintings mix figuration with abstraction to challenge our perceptions of the way we imagine these figures. Williams is interested in a kind of in-temporal aspect; taking historical characters and finding a way of making them exist in any kind of time. He places his portraits into extensively researched backgrounds, his characters acquire newfangled abstract forms that match the unstable circumstances of their rediscovery.

Mark Fairnington’s landscape paintings began as a commission for Cherryburn, the birthplace of the artist Thomas Bewick, reflecting the landscape and its history. The works connected with the historic context of Cherryburn evoke a sense of local identity and cultural continuity. They examined how a subjective response to the landscape can be framed within a collective experience, shaped by our knowledge of the history of landscape painting.

Alex Giles’ post-painterly abstract paintings are very personal, they are an extension of who he is: colourful, upbeat, outspoken. The source material for the work is grounded in the dewy-eyed nostalgia the artist has for the graphics of the 80’s and 90’s, subliminally archived, yet always available. Giles’s paintings start in geometry but introduces the organic, that the gesture adds life, and the hard edges exist to emphasize his colour fields. He use this style guide in combination with a narrative that expresses a love of movement, humour, natural forms, and the incidental beauty of the mundane.

London based Bex Massey examines the role of painting and the language of display in the face of popular culture. She amalgamates simulacra and allegory to investigate notions of ‘worth’ via motifs extracted from her childhood. Canvas therefore straddles the hyper real and erroneous as she imagines pixels into existence from low res files. Each coat of British nostalgia risks the ruination of the last, which to a degree mirrors the zeitgeist of post Brexit ‘Great’ Britain and her unease in this milieu.

Rebecca Scott’s series of paintings emerge from the inherent conflicts surrounding the notions of ‘the romantic’ and ‘the real’. The works take reference from the rolling hills and lakes, an idealistic ‘picture-postcard’ view of the Lake District. A scribble, a random spontaneous line cuts through the surface of paint representing a disruption, an interruption of the reading of the images. Scott primarily sees her work as a continuation of a feminist dialogue with the tradition of oil painting. Whereby the use of particular topics are employed to disrupt the expected reading of the chosen subject.

When Cumbrian based artist Julian Cooper finds himself walking among the fells, he is drawn to signs of quarries or mine workings, even going out of his way with hope of finding an evocative crater, tunnel, wall, or cave among these abandoned industrial landscapes. There’s an ambivalent grandeur in these abandoned sites that impels Cooper to make paintings – especially placed as they are within the romantic landscape of the Lake District – and perhaps part of their function is to peel off an outer layer of these perceived landscapes to reveal the further possibilities beneath.

The London-based artist Lee Maelzer is also well-known for putting used things and redundant sites to poetic purpose on canvas. Maelzer remains interested in the significance of matter and site to the common experiences and signature rituals that connect us. Encouraging one to linger in a cinematic twilight, contemplating the curious stylistics of the frozen image that can imbue the everyday with melancholy or wring a creepiness from the most mundane of details.

Martin Greenland’s painting has always stemmed from memory and imagination. The Cumbrian based artist aims to make his work a very delicate balance between the believable, based very much upon what is seen, and the unbelievable, which is about the unseen, the imagined. He also makes it a delicate balance between appreciating the physical beauty, the technical craft of paint and the concept; subjugating the paint to make it do the job of creating the illusion to carry the meaning behind the imagery.

Text extracted from Rebecca Scott‘s introduction to the exhibition Landscape of the Gods, featured in the catalogue alongside original texts by Michael Petry and Matthew Bowman.

Alex Giles: ‘Rotation’, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 160cm.

Lee Maelzer: ‘Back Steps’, 2011, oil & oil pastel on canvas, 170 x 270cm.

Alun Williams, ‘Another Virgin / Une Autre Vierge’, 2014, oil and acrylic on canvas, 152 x 122cm.

Julian Cooper: ‘Overhang’, 2013, oil on canvas, 101 x 132cm.

Rebecca Scott: ‘Northern Lights’, 2017, oil on canvas, 120 x 150cm.

About the artists

Julian Cooper (b.1947, Grasmere, UK) studied at Goldsmiths’ College of Art, London and in 1969 was awarded the Boise Travelling Scholarship and was resident at the British School in Rome (1994-95). He has work in public and private collections worldwide, has exhibited regularly in London at Art Space Gallery. His work featured in A Picture of Britain at Tate (2005) and he has had major retrospective exhibitions at Museo Nazionale Della Montagna, Turin (2005) and Abbot Hall, in Kendal (2017). He is represented by Art Space Gallery, London.

Mark Fairnington (b. 1957 Gateshead, UK) studied at St Martins School of Art and Goldsmiths College, London. He is a Professor in Painting at the University of the Arts London. Selected recent exhibitions: The Landscape Room, Handel Street Projects (2021); Relics, Ushaw Historic House, Durham (2021); The Worm in The Bud, Handel Street Projects (2017); Collected and Possessed Horniman Museum, London  (2016); A London Assembly, Delahunty, London (2015); The Nature of the Beast, New Art Gallery Walsall, UK (2013); Unnatural History, Mannheim Kunstverein, Germany (2012); The moment of privacy has passed, Usher Gallery, Lincoln UK (2010); A Duck for Mr Darwin, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2009); Fabulous Beasts, Natural History Museum (2004). 

Alex Giles (b. Northumberland, UK) studied at the University of Derby. Selected recent solo exhibitions: PROTRACTIVISM, Galeria Marimón, Spain (2023); DICE TROUBLES, Ducie street Warehouse/Universal Tomorrow, Manchester. U.K (2022); EYEHURTERS, White Elephant Gallery, Morecambe. U.K (2020). Selected recent group exhibitions: HARD EDGE, Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2022); COLOUR YOUR SOUL, Universe Gallery, Hangzhou, China (2021); PRIMA NOVA, Circle Culture Galleries, Berlin / Hamburg (2021); MISCELLANEOUS, ART CENTRAL (FAIR), A Gallery, Hong Kong (2020); SNAP, Cross Lane Projects, Kendal. U.K (External piece) (2021).

Martin Greenland (b. 1962, Marsden, UK) studied at Exeter College of Art. Selected solo exhibitions include: THE LIGHT INSIDE, Portland Gallery, London (2021); THE SEAS ARE RISING!/WALKIN FROM HOM, Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria (2021); Beaux Arts, Bath (2017); I AM/NOT MAKING THIS UP, Corke Gallery, Liverpool (2016); NEW PAINTINGS, Castlegate House, Cockermouth, Cumbria (2016). Selected Awards include: Finalist – Visual Artist of the Year, Cumbria Life Culture Awards (2015) North of England Prize Winner, Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London 2013; John Moores Painting Prize 2006; GCI Financial Purchase Prize, Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London 2000.

Lee Maelzer (b. 1966, London, UK) studied at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London and the Royal College of Art, London. Since 2005 she has had nine solo exhibitions and has exhibited widely in group shows in the UK, including the Bloomberg Space; Kenny Schachter ROVE Gallery; Christies, London; Charlie Smith Gallery; The Royal Academy; EAST Gallery, Norwich; Fieldgate Gallery; Carter Presents; The Dot Project; Calvert 22; APT Gallery; Collyer Bristow; Zabludowicz Collection 176 Project Space; Flowers East; Museum 52; Cell Project Space; Jessica Carlisle Gallery; Angus-Hughes Gallery; Poppy Sebire Gallery; Saatchi New Sensations & The Future can Wait, Victoria House; Transition Gallery; Coleman Art Projects; and the National Portrait Gallery. 

Bex Massey (b.1985, Newcastle upon Tyne), UK studied at Chelsea College of Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include  iRoman Road, London (2022); We Didn’t Start The Fire, VOLT, Eastbourne (2020); and ÀhhÁÀhhÁ, Slugtown, Newcastle upon Tyne (2018). Group shows include Instagram Live, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, Queensland (2022); The Big Show, Good Mother Gallery, San Francisco (2021); and Body \\ Politic, Boutwell Schabrowsky, Munich (2020). Massey has been awarded the ButterBiggens Prize in British Painting (2019), the Repaint History Prize for Womxn Artists (2021), and has been shortlisted for numerous awards, most recently the BEEP Painting Prize 2022.

Michael Petry (b.1960, Texas, USA) studied at Rice University, Houston (BA), London Guildhall University (MA), and has a Doctorate in Arts from Middlesex University. Petry is an artist, author and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London, and Guest Curator for Futurecity. He co-founded the Museum of Installation, was Guest Curator at the Kunstakademiet, Oslo, Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton and was Curator of the Royal Academy Schools Gallery. Petry is a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (FRBS) and a Brother of the Art Workers Guild. Petry co-authored Installation Art (1994), and Installation in the New Millennium (2003), and authored Abstract Eroticism (1996) and A Thing of Beauty is…(1997). The Trouble with Michael, a monograph of his practice, was published by Art Media Press in 2001.

Alun Williams (b.1961 Manchester, UK) studied at Blackheath School of Art, London before beginning his Masters at Goldsmiths’ College. Recent solo exhibitions include: Lux Fecit | Villa Tamaris, La Seyne-sur-Mer (2019);  In the Footsteps of Mr. Paine, Galerie anne barrault – Paris (2019); No Paine, No Gain | Handel Street Projects, London (2018);  For the Senelites’ Pleasure, Galerie anne barrault – Paris (2017);  Je n’oublie jamais un visage, mais pour vous je ferai une exception, Galerie Raymond Hains, Beaux-Arts, Saint-Brieuc (2017); une partie ce campagne | Chassagnes-Montrachet (2017); Spargentis, Galerie anne barrault – Paris (2014); Jules, Victorine, La Fornarina et Le Psychologue | Jules, Victorine, (2011), Alun Williams | The Good, The Bad and the Ugly | Galerie anne barrault – Paris (2009).

Rebecca Scott (b. 1960 Cumbria, UK) studied at Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths University, London, and is Co-Founder of Cross Lane Projects. Selected exhibitions: High on Hope, Cross Lane Projects, Kendal (2022); A Modern Capricho, Vestry St, London (2022); Salon for a Speculative Future, Chisenhale Art Place, London, (2020); Dirty Pictures, Standpoint Gallery, London (2019); Amsterdam, curated by Vanya Balogh & Mario Varas Sanchez, London (2019); IX Bienal de Jafre / Jafre Biennale, Jafre, Spain (2019); The Fight (Abstraction vs Figuration), Kunstgenerator, Geneva, Switzerland (2019); Auto-Destruct, Cross Lane Projects, Kendal, Cumbria (2019); Female Trouble – Paula Rego and Rebecca Scott, Cross Lane Projects, Kendal (2018); Protocol, curated by Vanya Balogh, Q-Park, Cavendish Square, London (2018); Flugblatter, curated by Birgit Jensen, Maebashi, Japan (2018); Artist For a Day, Flowers Gallery, Cork St, London (2014); Tables d’Artistes,19 Rue Paul Fort, Paris (2012)

All works copyright the artists.


British Art Fair 2023

28 September to 1 October 2023

We are thrilled to announce that we are participating in the British Art Fair, in the SOLO CONTEMPORARY featuring paintings by Rebecca Scott.

Saatchi Gallery

More information here.

Light and Land

by Juliet Klottrup

In association with Kendal Mountain Festival 2023

8 November to 9 December 2023

‘Light and Land’ A new photographic and painting exhibition by a local artist Juliet Klottrup.

Juliet immerses herself in the region, capturing its essence through landscapes, portraiture, and abstract compositions. Her images not only depict raw rural landscapes but also the people deeply connected to the land.

Meticulously captured with an analogue camera on medium format film, these photos serve as a contemporary archive, reflecting a unique moment in our evolving history.
In the transition from photos to paintings, Juliet translates sensory experiences into abstract art, infusing her canvases with vibrant colour, light, and movement.

“Light and Land” beautifully explores the relationship between the local natural world and the human connections it inspires.