Rosie Mullan, Katie Pratt
10 November - 3 December 2023
PV: Thursday 9 November 6 - 9pm
Performance evening: Friday 24 November 6 - 9pm
This project is the last of four 2-person exhibitions which collectively think about contemporary painting. Each exhibition becoming a space where idiosyncratic practices display their commonalities. And simultaneously, where shared interests give rise to disparate ways of thinking and making. All painting is polyglot and performs more than the mere intention of its maker. Exhibitions present the opportunity for works to draw out from one another latent qualities which might not at first present themselves, and for the possibility of new ‘meanings’ to coalesce in the crosstalk* between works.
The works in the final exhibition in this series: Rosie Mullan, Katie Pratt, employ grids, systems, traditions and languages as a range of armatures for the application and organisation of colour, line and matter. In looking at these paintings however, it remains uncertain what the direction of travel is – from simplicity toward complexity, or from chaos toward order. Simplicity, order, chaos and complexity are not ultimate or definitive positions, as they are each constructs – names that we give to ideas in order to hypothesise a sense of where we are and where we are going. With all compass points in flux, it becomes increasingly apparent that the works themselves weave all these ideas into a form which despite having arrived, speaks urgently of the micro-decisions that constitute its very making.
In looking at these paintings (made in oil or acrylic paint, wool, ribbon and webbing, with ceramic and other appendages) we quickly become joyfully submerged in the negotiation of action and consequence as we follow their dynamic compositions. There is something else going on here too which these visual qualities might momentarily veil. The works cannot help but offer tentative metaphors for the way histories, weathers, behaviours, etc. are understood when data is collectively addressed. The paintings, then, suggest a relationship with the world around us – from the way humans socially and politically organise themselves, to way that networks proliferate as systems outwork themselves. These painting-maps neither describe nor precede the territory; they both are, and are not, the territory. Their relation to the world is that of material and of poetry.
In Velazquez’ The Spinners (1657) we see a group of working women in the foreground preparing yarns. In a sunlit, tapestry-lined room farther back, we see a second group – two of whom are dressed as if mid-performance against a backdrop based on Titian’s Rape of Europa. Where the drama of the tapestry ends and the costumed performers (in real space) begin is impossible to establish, their bodies becoming entwined within the mythological scene. Three further women wait on, somewhat disengaged, caught between the ordinary scene of spinning (at picture front) and the mythological world (at the back). In Velazquez’ painting we don’t see the act of weaving, but we do see the processes that predate it, and the results of it. We also see that at all stages of conjuring worlds from yarn, the lived experience is inseparable from art-as-process and art-as-image-object. Repetitious labour, performing, waiting and looking are the preoccupations of all studios today too, and their traces haunt the gallery as we viewers each look into, and between, the works gathered in this show. Art, especially painting with its overloaded histories, can only ever be simultaneously spiritual and material; cosmic and banal; tactile and transportive. It is in these live contradictions that paintings resist becoming turgid and knowable, it is in these dualities that they are able to connect with ideas and cultures ordinarily out of reach. They become much more than they at first appear.
* the term is borrowed from Erik Davis’ The Thing is Alive in Mark Leckey, The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things (2013)
Rosie Mullan is an artist living and working in London. She graduated from The Ruskin School of Art in 2017. Recent exhibitions include: Mercury’s gone retrograde again at The Mills Centre Gallery, London and Ex-Voto at PrimeYarc, Great Yarmouth.
Recent performances include; Spin to find the centre as part of Nox-Voto at The Jube, Great Yarmouth. Performances in collaboration with Hannah Oram as Duo KNOT include; Dressing Room as part of Well Worn at Set Studios Ealing, PUMP at The Crossness Pumping Station, Thamesmead and Ghost Net as part of Ill Blow Your House Down at The One Hundred Years Gallery, London. Selected residencies include; Event Horizon Residency, Crete. The Royal Drawing School Dumfries House Residency, Scotland and The Red Gate Residency, Beijing, China.
Katie Pratt MA (RCA) (1998) is an abstract painter living in London. Winner of the Jerwood Painting Prize 2001, her work is currently represented in Analysis, Disruption, System which she co-curated at Stiftung Konzeptuelle Kunst, Soest with Andrew Bick and Jonathan Parsons.
In 2021 she curated Autumn Attic at Flowers Gallery and other notable group exhibitions include Location/Dislocation… at Mark Rothko Center, Daugavpils touring to Dubulti Art Station, Riga, 2020; Patrick Heron, Jonathan Lasker, Katie Pratt at John Hansard Gallery Southampton, 2006; Landscape Confection, curated by Helen Molesworth at Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus Ohio touring to Contemporary Arts Museum; Houston Texas and Orange County Museum of Art, California 2006. Solo Exhibitions include at Galerie Peter Zimmermann, 2012 & 2016; Fine Art Society, London, 2012; Kontainer Gallery Los Angeles, 2003, 2005 & 2008; Forum d’Art Contemporain, Sièrre, 2003 and Houldsworth Fine Art London, 2001 & 2003.
Please join us on Friday 24 November 6 - 9pm for an evening of performance and music that responds to the exhibition of Katie Pratt and Rosie Mullan’s works.
Hannah Oram & Rosie Mullan are a site-specific performance art duo based in
London. Knot started performing together seven years ago. They are measurers and activators of spaces. Knot unravel staircases, drop pots, make nets, draw lines, carry bricks, hang flags, and most importantly, tie knots. Their new performance 'Selvage' is made in response to Rosie Mullan and Katie Pratt's show and the space at Kingsgate.
María Mónica Gutiérrez known in her solo project as Montañera or Mountainess has established herself as one of the most intense and unique voices in Colombia. With the experience of 8 albums in tow, this London-based singer and songwriter has traveled a twelve-years trajectory with her bands Suricato (New Colombian Music) and Ságan (Cosmo-natural Pop) that has taken her to Europe, the United States and Latin America. Her Debut Solo Album ‘A Flor de Piel’ was released on the 18th of November. Maria will be playing a live set from this latest album.
Music will be played throughout the evening by Neal Tait.