Paint Symposium

Waterfront Gallery at The University of Suffolk  in Ipswich


The Waterfront Gallery is located within The University of Suffolk Waterfront Building adjacent to Cargo Cafe.


Immediacy of Paint: Surface

23 June to 20 July


Sister Morphine (Sassoferrato/Brown), 2008

C-Type Print on Kodak Endura Metallic Paper

Image 100 x 74 cm, frame 132 x 104 x 4.5 cm

edition of 5 plus 2 artist's proofs

Courtesy of Artist image © The Artist


This exhibition and its accompanying symposium on 7 July focus on how artists use and combine traditional with new technologies; these new techniques are changing how artists paint. The exhibition and symposium draw from internationally recognised artists living in the East of England as well as those with links to the region. The intent is to bring together these artists to further a dialogue examining how surface is mediated. These artists are examining and questioning digital technologies, photography and other current resources in conjunction with traditional methods in terms of painting praxis.


Artists in the Immediacy of Paint; Surface exhibition are employing his or her own unique visual language in terms of surface and how this may impact their painting praxis.


Firstly, artist Christ Hawtin utilises 3-D scans and architectural modeling programs to explore “the language of the painted surface.” He states: “The digitally generated structures are a brutal interruption within the paintings, yet they are subsumed into the language of the painted surface, playing with the  classic science-fiction image of the alien invasion.” Hawtin’s hybrid approach is heavily immersed in the material aspects of paint, yet digital elements are integral in his visual language and image making1.


The work, Battle (2017) and Ladies (2017), exemplifies Kim Anno’s ability to diffuse photographic imagery with diluted painted marks, which hold the viewer’s gaze so to absorb figurative and abstract elements simultaneously. These works speak of obliteration and alteration, especially in Battle, which uses a historical image, in this case, a photograph of the engraving of The Lion Hunt (1836) by Horace Vernet2. Anno’s work focuses on our fluctuating landscapes due to climate change and these figures hunting leads the viewer to reflect on acts against nature3.


Widely acknowledged as one of the most revered and prominent artists in the world today, Glenn Brown’s unique visual language questions the history and traditions of painting, notions of originality and the nature of reproduction. Brown’s knowledge of paint and its materiality is categorically evident throughout his body of work, where surface is implied through a flat, glossy rendering that can challenge belief. Additionally Brown’s distinct visual language and subsequently visual questioning makes us aware, among other things, of what impacts and interferes with how viewers visually comprehend painting in the digital4.


Robert Priseman is an artist who career and focus has been on questioning the darker side of human nature. Challenging subject matter, whether in human nature or human experience, he visually explores and reflects on through his paintings. The tiny form of the fetus is exaggerated in the small scale of 28 weeks (2012). The aged wooden frame within a frame solidly surrounds the fragile and delicate image.


Whereas the approach to the material aspects of paint by Matthew Krishanu considers how the application of paint merges with subject and narrative of a painting. In Church and Water (2015), Krishanu dilutes his paint and alludes to another place or country through a watery scene. In Crow (2013) Krishanu communicates a feeling of being watched through heavy and thick strokes of shiny black paint. He deftly links the weight and substance of the material aspect of paint to the core of his subjects.


On the other hand, artist Shaun Camp’s practice focuses predominantly on digital imagery. This leads to questions as to how surface and image making are addressed, both in practice and in concept. Camp’s work appears to sit within the realm of photography rather than painting, yet at its core it is about image making. Below the surface of a photographic image there is painterly and abstract elements in Push III  (2017) and Push IV (2017), and through their ambiguous shapes and forms, direct the eye across an unknown landscape.


When considering that similar, if not the same, digital image making, editing and printing tools are utilised in both photography and painting, the question arises: How has the visual language of artists today been imbued by these digital elements? This raises as well the question of how pigment and pixel compare in surface and visual language.


The artworks featured in Surface reflect varying concepts about surface through differing emphases on painting and digital imagery. Some artists are firmly rooted in the physical and material aspects of painting. Yet they still embrace digital technologies to mediate surface. Others use new technologies to integrate the material and the digital in ways previously only imagined.


The Immediacy of Paint: Surface is the second in a series and is a supportive exhibition for the symposium, which focuses on painting and the digital.




Laura Leahy








1 Chris Hawtin, Statement, Immediacy of Paint; Surface (accessed 6 June)


2 Treasure of the month, May 2003 Horace Vernet: The Lion Hun (accessed 18 June)


3 Kim Anno, Statement, (accessed 18 June)


4 Glenn Brown, extracts from ‘Interview with Glenn Brown’ with Rochelle Steiner, in Glenn Brown (London:Serpentine Gallery, 2004)





The event is presented in association with The University of Suffolk