Second Floor Studios & Arts – [SFSA]

Deborah Cumming – GTF: Gridscape, Textile and Flora opening at no format gallery Thursday 28th June, 5pm – 9pm

Posted in Events, New Works, SFSA Members by Second Floor Studios & Arts on June 27, 2012

Traditional oil painting techniques and subject matter underpin these paintings by Scottish painter Deborah Cumming, but recent work reveals a new approach to both landscape and still life.

Landscape has emerged as Gridscape, combining two contrasting styles which have had a profound influence on the artists career: traditional landscape painting and rigid colour grids used in design. The landscape painting sits behind a number of painted squares that have been selected from a grid structure, mapped out before painting begins in colours which provide both sympathy and contrast. The resulting painting offers a mix of traditional and contemporary styles that compete for the viewer’s attention.

Still life, while retaining static observations of composition, form, colour, light and mood, has been simplified, offering a new representation of an old theme.   Influenced by the work of mid 17th century Spanish artists Zurbarán and Cotán who simplified the concept of still life by depicting everyday objects, in an uncluttered setting, devoid of religious symbolism or moral sub-context, this work attempts to present still life in a new way. These contemporary paintings involve three basic elements: a dark background, an everyday object and a piece of fabric. The main object is either flora or fauna at varying stages of growth placed simply on carefully considered fabric. The light source is important in all of these works, as is the composition and placement of the object.

“Deborah’s grid landscape paintings force the viewer to switch between two opposing styles within a single painting. The grids provide a strong design element to an otherwise traditional landscape painting. Her still life paintings are simple, uncluttered examples of beauty and artistic craftsmanship”Matthew Wood, SFSA Director

More info and gallery opening times here:

Additional Text –

Deborah Cumming: Landscape painting as a fusion of artistic subjectivity and visible objectivity

Text by Stephen Baycroft

The painted image of a figurative objective painting relies on the spatial depth of an artificial geometrical perspective to impose the same apparent objectivity onto the coloured forms of the figurative objects in this image as the coloured forms of the figurative objects located outside this image in the visible world of someone observing this painting. Western aesthetics has included attempts to endow the visible lines and colours in figurative objective paintings with the functions of mimetic illustrative representation and/or non-mimetic non-illustrative linguistic expression.

The capacity of the lines and colours in a painting to function as mimetic illustrative representations of the apparently objective coloured forms of figurative objects located outside this painting, benefited from empirical scientific research into coloured pigments by Michel Eugene Chevreul and coloured lights by Ogdon Rood.

The capacity of the lines and colours in a painting to function as non-mimetic non-illustrative linguistic expressions of apparently subjective things like an artist’s emotions, feelings and ideas, was legitimised by modern empirical scientific, philosophical and occult scientific research into the subjective properties of colour. Such colour research has involved theoretical and practical attempts to develop universal languages of colours whose systematic organization has included the use of abstract grids of coloured squares. Many figurative objective and abstract painters have tried to invent and use universal languages of objective colours to make paintings using colours which they believed had the linguistic capacity to express their subjective emotions, feelings and ideas.

Cumming uses the space envisaged by the painted surface of one of her landscape paintings to juxtapose the coloured forms occupying the perspectival space of the representational (i.e. figurative objective) areas of this painting, with the abstract grid of coloured squares occupying the non-perspectival space of the expressive (i.e. abstract) areas of this painting. The painted surface of such a landscape painting can be conceived to be the visible means by which Cumming tries to abolish the distinction between the abstract thought-formal content of her own subjectivity and the figurative objective content of the visible world represented in this painting.


“LET ME PUT MY POEMS IN YOU” – David Bray solo show @ no format opening this Thursday 14th June – 5pm – 9pm

Posted in Events, New Works, SFSA Members by Second Floor Studios & Arts on June 12, 2012

“The title derives its name from a throwaway gag in the Will Ferrell movie ‘Blades of Glory’. It’s an absurd title, reflecting the ridiculous subjects of the drawings. Unfortunately in the last few years, too many of my friends have passed away – life can sometimes seem very bleak and sad. This body of work is an attempt to step away from that darkness – into a world of unbridled joy and stupidity.”David Bray

David Bray’s compelling works come from a lifetime love of drawing and an active imagination. Using basic working tools, such as pens, pencils and paper bought from ordinary stationary shops, Bray creates intricate, time-consuming drawings, which explore emotion, utopia and a world of fantasy.

Born in Dartford, Kent, in 1970, as a child Bray would apparently draw images of space travel, where he would depict himself and his friends visiting other Planets and Universes. As he grew older he began to explore a dark, egotistical fantasy world, which is still apparent in the work he makes today being influenced and inspired by a wide range of artists: from Allen Jones, Eric Stanton, to erotic photography by Helmut Newton and Araki.   Bray has exhibited worlwide – having shown in London, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong,  Amsterdam, Portland, Los Angeles and Perth.   As well as an exhibiting artist, Bray has had a successful career as a commercial illustrator since graduating in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins in 1992.

Clients have included: Absolut, Puma, Agent Provocateur, VW, Vodafone, MTV, Nokia, The New York Times, GQ and more.   His collaboration with photographer Tim Bret Day on the Harvey Nichols advertising campaign ‘HN on Earth’ is now in the permanent poster collection at the Louvre.   Bray has recently resurrected his design practice: clients including Virgin Atlantic and Terence Conran.

His show at no format sees Bray working on large scale portraiture, with overiding themes of loss, voodoo, religion and sadness……

Exhibition open: Fri 15th, Sat 16th and Sun 17th June & Fri 22nd, Sat 23rd and Sun 24th June (11am – 5pm)