Exhibition: Some Domestic Incidents: An Exhibition of new Painting from Britain, mac Birmingham, Birmingham, September 24 – November 13 2011
© Courtesy Mihai Nicodim, Los Angeles
Justin Mortimer could never be accused of lacking versatility when it comes to the diversity of his sitters.
He’s portrayed Brian Lara, David Bowie, Harold Pinter and – in a ghostly pop art triumph featuring Her Majesty against a bright yellow background, shorn of a neck – the Queen.
For Some Domestic Incidents, where he exhibits four new works and two special commissions, he continues his unsettling oeuvre with Vaccine, a picture of a distressed-looking waif sucking his finger, setting uncomfortable imagery within Mortimer’s graceful style of painting.
The theme of the show, which was initially presented at co-organisers the Prague Biennale, is of tension in supposedly familiar and comforting situations, and Royal College of Art graduate Caroline Walker seizes upon this with homely scenes where tiny elements are always amiss.
Walker rents apartments, hires models and carefully orders the clothes and accessories worn by her subjects, ensuring that everything is intentionally staged and fake. Graham Chorlton, Oliver Clegg, Anna MR Freeman, Philip Hale and Sally Payen also star in this survey of up-and-coming and established talent.
“It is a great time for painting,” suggests Curator Matt Price, discussing the thinking behind the line-up.
“The recent resurgence of interest in figurative painting internationally has been reflected in studios around Britain, with many emerging and mid-career artists producing exceptional work.
“Being invited by the Biennale to curate an exhibition of painting from Britain offered an incredible opportunity to showcase some of this new work to an international audience, and the partnership with mac has meant audiences in Britain will also have the chance to see it.”
- Open 12pm-8pm (11am-4pm Sunday, closed Monday). Admission free.
© Courtesy Graham Chorlton
© Courtesy Sally Payen