TABLEAUX II: PAINTING AS STAGE

EMILY ALLCHURCH – PETER ASHTON JONES – LOUISE BRISTOW – CHRIS BUCKLOW – NOEMI CONAN – DAN COOMBS – MICK FINCH OONA GRIMES – DERECK HARRIS – NICKY HIRST – GLENYS JOHNSON – NEIL TAIT – STELLA WHALLEY
6 April to 4 May 2024

Gallery is open Thursday – Saturday, 12-5pm
Free Entry

This group exhibition includes thirteen artists, all of whom paint or work within the idiom of painting, within a figurative mode and utilise a stage-like space or Tableau. They all construct the pictorial space of a theatre with a central stage and feature spatial plains that are parallel to the surface of the canvas. These plains echo the space in which the viewer stands and present a parallel world where the characters portrayed appear absorbed in their own drama.

The Tableau is a device used throughout the history of painting as a form of display, often bearing the look of a constructed theatrical arrangement; an artificial space, but one which evokes the idea of a reflected world, where the audience is implicated or even has a role to play.

Manet’s painting A Bar at the Folies-Berjeres is a wonderful example of all of this at play, as the male customer who is shown approaching the Bar is reflected in the mirror behind the Barmaid, who stares blankly out at the viewer. We partially assume the role of customer as we approach the painting surface and as the Courtauld website explains….

Manet has shifted the reflection to the right. The bottles on the left are similarly misaligned in the mirror. This play of reflections emphasises the disorienting atmosphere f the bustling Folies-Bergere. In A Bar at the Folie-Bergere, Manet created a complex, absorbing composition and one of the iconic paintings of modern life.

Each of the painters in this proposal uses the convention of the Tableau as an entry point for their own thoughtful reflections on the political, the personal, the imaginary, or the philosophical mythopoeic residue of lived experience.

All works copyright the artists.