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Hannah Maybank and David Wightman, the Berwick Gymnasium Artists, 2011 | ISIS Arts
Hannah Maybank and David Wightman, the Berwick Gymnasium Artists, 2011

Hannah Maybank and David Wightman, the Berwick Gymnasium Artists, 2011

ISIS Arts & Berwick Gymnasium Gallery invites you to an artist talk with

Hannah Maybank and David Wightman
The Berwick Gymnasium fellowship artists 2010/11

Wednesday 8th December

18:00 – 20:00

5 Charlotte Square
Newcastle upon Tyne

Come to meet and hear about the exciting work of current fellowship artists; David Wightman and Hannah Maybank. Matthew Walmsley, curator of Berwick Gymnasium Gallery, will introduce the artists.

Refreshments will be available. The event is free and everyone interested is welcome. However space is limited, so please RSVP: isis@isisarts.org.uk or ring 0191 261 4407.

The space is not fully accessible so please let us know in advance if you have access needs.

David Wightman builds layers of precision-cut wallpaper shapes to create both abstract and landscape paintings in a method similar to marquetry. Drawing on the tools of postmodern thought including pastiche, hybridity and even parody, he plays with established genres that art criticism has often declared obsolete. As such, his works are rich with wistful suggestion, and confront the struggle of any art to truly represent what it imitates.

Constructed through a systematic but experimental design process, the artist ensures that both his landscapes and abstract 'targets' speak of an "obsession with colour". He establishes the harmony of his non-naturalistic palette through a combination of digital and painted modelli, rendering his paintings a geometric synthesis of contemporary and traditional methods of working. Aside from technique, Wightman's abstract and landscape works are conceptually comparable: "In both my abstract and landscape paintings, the colours and patterns I choose indicate an aesthetic link between aspirational working class homes and high art. My work is an attempt to reclaim abstraction and landscape on my own terms."

Imbuing his works with a sense of intimacy fuelled by references to his own background, Wightman's paintings are a homage to nostalgia and homeliness. The intensity of glossy colour interrupts the nature of the wallpaper, complicating its reception and elevating it from decorative platform to artistic statement, and yet the inherent 'kitsch' connotations cleverly undermine this. As such, Wightman's works provoke a part tragic, yet darkly humorous, conception of the symbiotic relationship between aspiration and abstraction.

David Wightman is a graduate of the Royal College of Art. Solo exhibitions include David Wightman: Behemoth and Other New Paintings, Cornerhouse, Manchester (2009), Aspirations, William Angel Gallery, London (2008) and New Work, Found Gallery, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London (2007). Group shows include KIAF – Korea International Art Fair, with SUMARRIA LUNN/Art Work Space/Hanmi Gallery, Seoul (2010), Geometry Is Never Wrong, Wieden + Kennedy, London (2010), The Medical Foundation Art Auction, SUMARRIA LUNN, John McAslan + Partners/Royal Institution of Great Britain, London (2009), In A Word, SUMARRIA LUNN, London (2009), Travelling Light, Wilson Williams Gallery, Venice Biennale (2009), CUBE Open, CUBE (Centre for the Urban Built Environment), Manchester (2008), Beneath, Surface Gallery, Nottingham (2006), RCA Secret, Royal College of Art, London (2004) and Summer Show, Florence Trust, St. Saviour's, London (2004). The artist was a finalist at the Lexmark European Art Prize (2003) and is a recipient of the Hunting Art Prize (2003).

Hannah Maybank’s paintings contain elements from the natural world such as trees, flowers, clouds, and mountains. These natural elements are pared down to simple silhouette forms to act like motifs. Worked most often in monochrome, these motifs or templates are repeated across the surface of the paintings to create a patterning in both the visual composition and through the process of their creation. Maybank uses both construction and destruction to create works which echo our relationship to time and the natural world. The cycles within life, both birth and decay, are reflected by the process in which her paintings are made: layers upon layers of latex and acrylic paint are built up to be then stripped, cut and peeled away to reveal both the composition and lifespan of the piece.

From October to December 2007, Maybank was artist in residence at ArtSway in The New Forest. To be created especially for the ArtSway main gallery space, the triptych Disclosure, 2008—her largest painting to date—was commissioned. In April 2008 this piece was exhibited together with a number of other paintings, and for the first time a set of working shellac ink drawings. In September of the same year The Hatton Gallery held a major overview of the artist’s practice. This exhibition also contained In Company, 2008—created especially to be shown alongside Kurt Schwitters's Merzbarn—and her painting The Visit—based upon Ian Fleming’s The Garden of Gethsemane, 1931, from the Hatton’s Historic collection.

In June 2009, The Visit, 2008, along with a number of other works were exhibited at the 53rd International Art exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, 2009 as part of ArtSway’s New Forest Pavilion. The accompanying exhibition catalogue included an essay on the artist’s work entitled Gathering Life written by the critic and poet Cherry Smyth.

Hannah Maybank is represented by Gimpel Fils, London, and is an ArtSway Associate.

More Information on the Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship
The Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship programme began in 1993 and is awarded annually to selected professional artists who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to developing their practice. Artists are selected to live and work in Berwick from October to April: this period of reflective time is intended to give artists an opportunity to produce a new body of work in response to this extraordinary border location.

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