Anna Schapiro, Kate Scrivener
23 June - 15 July
PV Thursday 22 June 6 – 9pm
There is an analogy to be found between the act of looking and the action of colour - as material - as it moves across and seeps into the fabric of a substrate. Both dynamics are interrogative and excavating. Both are seeking something to grip onto, in order then to become immersed further. Coloured matter, like questioning looking, moves directionally from the centre of the room, from the body or from the loaded brush, toward and then into the fibrous paper, and then even into the emulsion which skins the gallery walls. This directional ingress is reversed in the movement of light as its waves touch the surface of the saturated object and reflect back into the room, into the eye of the looker, carrying with it information about relative densities, opacities, accretion, capillary actions and exsiccation. These qualities or characteristics of a surface become the envelope of observations from which a sense of knowing begins. In works which refuse, or delay image, that knowledge begins as material awareness before quickly becoming the apparatus for poetic speculation. Just as coloured liquid is introduced onto and into the paper before becoming an immersive field of articulated hues and tones, so too the light which enters the looker’s iris stimulates the possibility of worlds, spaces, and times untethered to the everyday experience of things.
In Kate Scrivener’s studio, small paper sheets are prepared with veils of soft coloured marks, these are then propped on a table top against a wall in piles of 2 or 3 or 4 sheets to be looked at and sensitively recorded as a kind of still life painting of abstractions. The quietness and modesty of the motif being captured emphasises the process of looking and painting. Close observation of small dotted or colour-washed papers is transposed in the careful application of liquid colour from the tip of a brush, slowly coalescing into a painting. This process of looking and touching with the brush begins unexpectedly to conjure associations or memories of fields or starscapes or horizon lines which cleave sea and sky. Transportation through the act of looking is significant here. Like all still life painting, the closeness of the painter to the motif speaks of a present-ness, of bearing witness. And yet as we look at these painted records, we think simultaneously of those hours and days in that studio, and of those places that the composite plains begin to poetically suggest. The closer we look, the further away we are able to travel imaginatively.
Painting directly onto long drapes of rice paper within the space of the exhibition, Anna Schapiro creates a relationship between the performance of light (how the crests and folds and edges of the stained papers are illuminated as a rich territory of complexly nuanced surfaces) and liquid (how colour is not on, but in the substrate, and how that colour bleeds through to the wall as a kind of incremental seepage). In these works the action of light and liquid become like the action of looking. The looking happens onto and into the works, such that their material porosity and colour sensitivity echoes the ways that all paintings reveal themselves slowly through durational looking. Looking is a slippery mix of navigation, questioning, pleasured pursuits, returns, mental comparisons, cul-de-sacs, scale shifts, and so on. All of these things happen at the same time, and the longer we are with a work, these different emphases take momentary precedence, but then settle back into the multi-faceted looking-action.
Anna Schapiro lives and works in Berlin. She graduated from the University of Fine Arts Dresden in 2017. Recent exhibitions include: Maybe Purple. A Nuance Between Red and Blue. Stephanie Kelly Gallery, Dresden, 2022; Class Issues – Art Production In and Out of Precarity nGbK / Berlinischen Galerie, Berlin, 2022, Three Earths between Gwarna Street & Konstytucji 3 Maja Square, Wroclaw, Poland, 2022; Visit to the Brass Factory, site-specific installation in hall 1 of the former brass factories, Eberswalde, 2022, Valery / Plattform 1 / Exil, Galerie Pankow, Berlin, 2020, There Is No, GFLK Halle Süd, Tölz, Bad Tölz (solo show), 2019; Open Closed, Book Children Dresden, Dresden (solo show), 2019; The Event of a Thread – Global Narratives in Textiles, Kunsthaus Dresden, 2017; Vot Ken You Mach?, Muzeum Współczesne Wrocław / Wrocław Contemporary Museum, 2015. She is co-founder and co-editor of the journal Jalta-Positionen zur Jüdischen Gegenwart (Jalta-Positions on the Jewish Present) and a member of the Ministerium für Mitgefühl (Ministry of Compassion).
Kate Scrivener studied painting at the RCA, London. Her exhibitions include: 25 years, Danielle Arnaud, London, 2021, This has travelled through the night to you, Regency House, Brighton 2021. The World is Turning, domobaal, London, 2006. Oriel Mostyn open 2006, Natural Causes, Wings Projects Art Space, Switzerland, 2006. Button Up New York, d.u.m.b.o arts centre, New York, 2005. The Book Show, The Wordsworth Trust, Cumbria, 2004. Spin, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2001. East of Eden, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, 2001. Among her awards are 1st prize for the RA Original Print 2008. Her work is held in private and public collections, including British Library. London. National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Museum London. RCA collection, London. National Poetry Library London and Tate Britain, (special collections) London.