on Surface | Contemporary Painting Today


10 August – 9 September

Exhibition goes live at 10am on 10 August
For an online collector’s preview please register interest:

Register interest


on Surface showcases the work of a group of emerging contemporary artists who share certain affinities and approaches – Anna Brass, David Cooper, Laurence Grave and Henry Ward – together with works from Messums’ artist and selector of the exhibition, Tom Robinson.

The work of Anna Brass hovers between two and three dimensions; her use of fabric pertaining to paint, her painted surfaces evoking stone, brick and tile. She takes motivation from the intense impulse she feels when looking at images, the inspiration for her subject matter deriving from a variety of sources including Byzantine mosaics, Sienese painting and 1930s cartoons.

David Cooper’s work is often pushed to an extreme; forms condensed to a conclusive end informed by his preoccupation with aberration and malformation. Taking fragments of found, objects, he explores them inside-out, and outsidein through a series of unpremeditated and intuitive processes.

Laurence Grave questions perception in her work by confronting imperfection and responds to the idea of harmony, perfection or transcendence that is often expected from an artwork. The spatiality of her pieces is often the result of attention paid to the materiality of the work: torn strips of canvas, visible staples, stripping the frame, the reuse of material and recovery.

Henry Ward explores the language of paint by investigating the threshold between abstraction and representation. He maintains three specific sites of practice; his kitchen table where he makes small objects, his shed where he paints on paper, and the studio. These three spaces create an ongoing dialogue between different ways of working and different paces.

While the individual practices of these artists are diverse, they are unified in their dynamic approach to materials, processes and imagery. Robinson references this commonality as a force
best described as ‘charge’.