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06 May 2011 - 26 May 2011

Gallery North is hosting Fade Away as the third part of our series of exhibitions exploring painting studio practice. There will be a free Artist Symposium, book launch and talks by Alli Sharma the Curator and writer Barry Schwabsky at Gallery North on Thursday 26 May 2011.

Fade Away is the first in a series of survey-type exhibitions to be held at Transition Gallery, London and it now travels to Gallery North in May 2011.

This exhibition will feature paintings that oscillate between representation and abstraction. The premise is broad enough, allowing scope whilst providing an interesting visual discourse 'where compositions teeter on the verge of illegibility and images emerge and fade away'.  

There will be one work each by a mixture of approx 40 established and emerging artists, limited to 60 x 60 cm.

Barry Schwarbsky (2010) explains:

The fact that many painters today are working along the broad and very porous border between abstraction and images is a sign that this boundary is, in itself, an object of great fascination. It is as if the potential for transition had become more urgent than identification with a fixed position. Mobility trumps rigor. More than in images or abstraction per se, there is a tremendous interest today in what the art historian Dario Gamboni has called potential images, that is, those established in the realm of the virtual by the artist but dependent on the beholder for their realization, and their property is to make the beholder aware either painfully or enjoyably of the active, subjective, nature of seeing, That is, seeing one thing rather than another is not a given; it is a commitment and a form of painting that lays emphasis on this latent state of the image (which is also a latent state of abstraction) is one that throws back on the viewer the question of his or her own choice or predisposition in determining what to see. In particular, the whole phenomenon of painterliness has a different value today than it did in the past. It functions less as a signifier of the individual artist?s stylistic signature or as the trace of emotional expression or of the labor of making that would have been concealed by a smoothed-over high finish though it can still be all of those than as a way of allowing the painting to linger in the condition in which things are still unsettled, metamorphic, in transition.

Claire Undy wrote about the event, and here is an abstract:

"The Latest event from abstract critical was hosted by Gallery North, Newcastle, where we sponsored a free afternoon symposium accompanying their most recent exhibition Fade Away. The event was extremely well attended, and speakers Alli Sharma, Barry Schwabsky, Laura Lancaster, Andrew Graves and Helen Smith stayed after the event for discussion with the audience over a glass of wine.

The Director of Gallery North, Helen Baker chaired the event, opening by introducing the speakers involved and then inviting exhibition curator Alli Sharma to speak further about the show. Alli Sharma discussed the origins of the show, and how she felt it represented current trends in painting at the moment. Barry elaborated on the ideas from his text for the symposium, discussing the difficulty of the unknowable abstract, and the resulting challenges in discussing the subject. Helen  Baker then introduced Laura Lancaster, an internationally exhibited artist based in the North-East, who gave a talk about her practise, with particular reference to her recent solo-show at the Laing Gallery in Newcastle.

After questions from the audience, and a short break, Helen Baker introduced the final two speakers, artists Andrew Graves and Helen Smith, who both gave an insight into their working practise. Helen Smith, another artist local to Newcastle closed the event by discussing her work.

abstract critical would like to thank Helen Baker and Alli Sharma for organising the event, and all speakers involved."

You can read the whole article about the event here: http://abstractcritical.com/2011/05/abstract-critical-symposium-at-gallery-north-newcastle/

The Exhibition featured in The Guardian 'Guide' 21 May 2011

Robert Clark writes, 'Perceptively curated by Alli Sharma, and including work by an array of contemporary artists including Tim Bailey, Paul Housley, Kaye Donac and Thomas Hylander, this is a timely show of paintings that fluctuates between figurative and abstract agendas. Initiated at east London's Transition Gallery, Fade Away cuts a swathe through an increasingly prevalent tendency among painters to engage with intriguing ambiguities. Here are paintings that take illusionistic perspectives on abstract marks and paintings that dissolve the most banal of subjects into an almost hallucinatory maze of brushstrokes. Portraits become spectres and architectural vistas are transformed through a mosaic-like screen of patterned flatness. As this looks neither like one thing nor another, it might appear like naive or bad painting, but it's not; it's sophisticated stuff overall and some of it is pretty good indeed.'

For enquiries please email azsymposiumgallerynorth@northumbria.ac.uk

The symposium, book launch and talk takes place on Thursday 26 May and is free to attend.