It’s a hectic world of smartphones and social media where even the most beautiful works of art have become part of the frantic race for the perfect picture.
But this week a stunningly serene collection of paintings will go on display at Leeds Art Gallery encouraging visitors to enjoy a change of pace and appreciate the beauty of taking it slow.
Slow Painting, presented by Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery Touring, features work by 19 artists, each with their own unique style but all thematically linked by a desire to encourage people to pause and contemplate.
Curated by writer and critic Martin Herbert, the exhibition mostly showcases the work of British or UK-based artists working in figuration and abstraction.
Sarah Brown, principal keeper at Leeds Art Gallery, said: “Slow Painting invites us to take our time – in a world where we are used to such a fast pace of digital technology we invite audiences to spend time in the galleries looking at paintings that offer a window onto our contemporary world.”
Exploring some of the different ways art has responded to digital technology, both in how it is made and the speed with which it is consumed, Slow Painting highlights how shorter attention spans and the desire to make images that ‘pop’ on smartphones and computer screens could affect our appreciation of culture.
Artists whose work will be on display will include Allison Katz, Benjamin Senior, Tim Stoner and Simon Ling as well as Russian-born, Nottingham-based artist Yelena Popova.
A number of the works by Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid and internationally-renowned Michael Armitage are also part of the exhibition and seating will be installed in the gallery so audiences can spend more time appreciating the paintings.
Martin Herbert, curator of the exhibition studied Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University in the early 90s and credits the city and the Leeds Art Gallery collection for his life-long love of painting.
He said: “Slow Painting aims to explore multiple aspects of what slowness might mean in relation to recent painting. The exhibition includes works that have taken long periods to gestate, and others that engage with spans of time, from the continuum of art history to wider cultural and political histories. All of them, though, reward sustained contemplation”.
Brian Cass, senior curator of Hayward Gallery Touring added: "There is something elemental in the act of painting that distinguishes it from the excess of images produced and consumed in contemporary life. Painting is an old, slow art, and this major exhibition explores its enduring vitality and presence, surveying a range of contemporary paintings that take their time and invite us, as viewers, to do the same. We are delighted to be presenting this exhibition with a range of wonderful exhibition partners around the UK".
Slow Painting will include a programme of artist’s talks in partnership with Leeds Beckett University including Benjamin Senior, who will be speaking about his work on December 5.
Opening at Leeds Art Gallery on October 24, Slow Painting then travels to The Levinsky Gallery in Plymouth on January 25, 2020.
For more details on the exhibition and talks, visit: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/leeds-art-gallery/whats-on-at-leeds-art-gallery/
Full list of artists: Darren Almond; Athanasios Argianas; Michael Armitage; Gareth Cadwallader; Varda Caivano; Lubaina Himid; Paul Housley; Merlin James; Allison Katz; Simon Ling; Lucy McKenzie; Mairead O'hEocha; Yelena Popova; Carol Rhodes; Sherman Sam; Benjamin Senior; Michael Simpson; Tim Stoner; Caragh Thuring.
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24 Oct 2019 – 12 Jan 2020 - Leeds Art Gallery
25 Jan – 29 Mar 2020 - The Levinsky Gallery, The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth
10 Apr – 6 Jun 2020 - Andrew Brownsword Gallery at The Edge, University of Bath and Locksbrook Campus, Bath School of Art and Design
Jul – Oct 2020 - Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and Thurso Art Gallery
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Hayward Gallery Touring
Hayward Gallery Touring is the UK’s largest and longest-standing not for profit organisation producing exhibitions of modern and contemporary art that tour to galleries, museums and other publicly funded venues throughout Britain. Funded by Arts Council England and based at Southbank Centre, London, Hayward Gallery Touring collaborates with independent curators, artists, writers and galleries to create ambitious exhibitions that are beyond the scope of a single institution. Ranging in scale from the British Art Show – the largest exhibition of contemporary art produced in the UK – to smaller monographic shows, our imaginative exhibitions are seen by up to half a million people in over 40 cities and towns each year.
About Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre and one of the UK's top five visitor attractions, occupying a 17 acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day.
The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to four Resident Orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and four Associate Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain).
About Leeds Art Gallery
Founded in 1888 Leeds Art Gallery has strong collections of 19th and 20th century British painting and sculpture, widely considered to be one of the best outside national collections. With half a million visitors every year, it is one of the city’s most visited attractions and all the exhibitions are free.
Alongside the extensive painting and sculpture collection, the gallery presents a dynamic temporary exhibition programme that has showcased exhibitions such as British Art Show 8 and shows of celebrated artists such as Damien Hirst and Gary Hume. The gallery continues to acquire artworks for the permanent collection; recent acquisitions include works by Alison Wilding, Simon Fujiwara, and Becky Beasley.
The 20th century is represented by artists such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash and Jacob Epstein, as well as artists of our time such as Frank Auerbach, Bridget Riley, Tony Cragg and Mark Wallinger. The extensive sculpture collection, the most comprehensive of any regional collection, includes a vast and unique archive; both are managed in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute. email@example.com/art-gallery
Leeds Art Gallery 2020 Programme
- Sara Barker and the painting collection
Exhibition dates: Fri 7 Feb – Sun 31 May 2020
Galleries: White Gallery, Large and Small Lyons
- ‘Quarantine’ by Georgina Starr
Exhibition dates: Fri 19 June – Sun 13 Sept 2020
Galleries: White Gallery
- Natural Encounters (working title)
Fri 19 June – Sun 13 Sept 2020
Galleries: Small and Large Lyons Galleries
- Milena Dragicevic
Exhibition dates: Fri 16 Oct 2020 – Sun 17 Jan 2021
Galleries: White Gallery
- Zadie Xa
Exhibition dates: Fri 16 Oct 2020 – Sun 17 Jan 2021
Galleries: Large and Small Lyons