Painted Realities is the Hanmi Gallery’s 31st interim exhibition, displaying the work of four international artists that explore appropriation, authorship and identity through the materiality of paint.
We caught up with Mark Nader, exhibiting artist and curator of the exhibition, to find out more about the work and the back story of the show.
Why was it important that the chosen artists worked with paint?
The all painting show aims to bring back the focus of paint away from a reliance of footnoted theory. The materiality of paint is given centre stage to explore how these artists approach a process of image making using appropriation, authorship and identity.
Bringing together abstract and figurative painters in a space that is not your conventual white cube we are forced to consider the surface and texture of paint itself. Each piece has a place within the gallery space and every painting converses with each other, because of the common theme and interest in paint, surface, texture and colour is given centre stage.
How did you go about curating the exhibition?
As both an exhibiting artist and the curator I feel it was important to start with something I feel very strongly about. My concerns recently have started to focus on the importance of materiality. I feel painters tend to get sidelined and held down by curators riding too much concern on a thematic show, in some sort of fearful reaction to force relevance to painting.
For me bringing together figurative and abstract works with four artists, that ultimately have their own concerns and approach to composing a piece, starts to state the obvious allure of the paint itself. Also the gallery itself is hard to ignore. To place artists that share a common theme is ill conceived as ultimately you have to contend with the galleries hessian, peeling wall paper and cracked plaster.
So, materiality becomes the show’s intention in all aspects from the work to the space, And I hope it becomes immersive because of this.
Can you tell us a bit about your own work?
My work has always confronted the figurative representation of the clinical, desolate, one-dimensional virtual worlds of computer games and Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOG) such as Second Life and Minecraft, with their rudimentary proportions and limited colour palettes, as well as looking at how we portray ourselves, via what we upload, ‘like’ and ‘pin’ online, on social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.
My family background is of vital significance – my own heritage is of half Mexican and half British origin, a meeting of two very different cultures. Within the structure of the paintings, I can form a narrative of sorts between these two cultures. My collaging technique, using digital images from all over the internet indicates an over-consumption of media, leading to a (mis)understanding of both cultures. I see the resulting paintings as a melting pot of the endless stream of online images with which we are bombarded every day, with strange creatures being born of my naive understanding of Aztec and Nahua deities, and mismatched cross-cultural objects.
Painted Realities runs at the Hanmi Gallery until February 16th
30 Maple Street London W1T 6HA
Mark Nader lives and works in London. Exhibiting internationally, including a solo show at J-space, 798 art district, Beijing, 2013. And group shows in London, including the Hot One Hundred, Schwartz gallery in Hackney Wick, 2013.