Daniel Rios Rodriguez
about the artists
b. 1989, Dublin, Ireland.
In her most recent sculpture series 'Cats', Hannah Fitz presents bodies made up of two adjoining cats. Paws and tails become points of connection, while some cats sit playfully in near perfect reflection, others recoil from their elongated shadows. Fitz plays on the theory that cats do not recognise their mirror image, creating creatures who are either fascinated or frightened by each other. Fitz works primarily with sculpture, making inexact versions of figures, furniture and familiar objects. Made in series and painted in a faded, near-monochromatic spectrum, her work reflects back a departicularised version of the world in which actions are disjointed, light and shadow have form, and gravity seems less in control. Her sculptures are carefully constructed, but reject sleekness for a finish that is deliberately crude and scrappy, articulated by curling lines and uncertain wobbles. Human figures become uniform and featureless everymen, like the figurines on top of trophies, while clothing and household objects seem animated, teetering towards one another as if in communication, inhabiting a shared universe that omits us. There is a playfulness to her work, but also a sense of unease: these ambiguous sculptural forms appear suspended in time, acting more like photographs or drawings than sculpture.
b. 1962, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Callum Innes creates abstract paintings that carry a powerful tension between control and fluidity. Dissolution is central to his practice: layers of deep pigments are brushed over with turpentine, breaking down sections of paint and leaving watery, trace elements, before being painted over again. Repeating this process of painting, dissolving and repainting multiple times, Innes builds depth and a sense of history: oblique panels of dense pigments become embedded and fortified, while tiny trickles or rivulets of liquified paint point to their underlying fragility. This meticulous approach to materials is carried across into the artists’ watercolours and pastels, in which pigment is built up into velveteen layers. Though Innes’s works may seem minimal or geometric at first glance, they are in fact always slightly “off kilter”, governed by imperfectly drawn lines and slightly softened shapes. This fallibility and humanity, put in contrast with the artist’s skill and precision as a painter, results in works of great poetic and contemplative power – cementing Innes’s place as one of the most significant abstract painters of his generation.
b.1960, Cardiff, Wales.
Merlin James approaches the history and legacy of painting with a highly considered and unconventional viewpoint. As commented by Artforum’s Sherman Sam, his work “has sought to rigorously problematise the experience of painting while simultaneously deepening its formal language”. Generally small in scale, his works depict diverse subject matter including vernacular architecture, riverside views, post-industrial landscapes, empty interiors, mysterious figures and scenes of sexual intimacy. His frame paintings on gauzy, sheer material treat the structure of the picture frame and stretcher bar as an integral part of the work, while works on canvas might be collaged with tufts of hair or sawdust, distressed, pierced, cropped or heavily overpainted. Also an erudite and thoughtful critic, James has a deep engagement with the history of art and this knowledge shapes and informs his practice. His works refine and renew many of painting’s most time-honoured concerns – genre and narrative, pictorial space and expressive gesture, the emotive resonance of colour and texture.
Daniel Rios Rodriguez
b. 1978, Killeen, Texas.
Daniel Rios Rodriguez makes intimate and exuberant semi-figurative paintings that combine images from nature with fantastical visions. The artist works on a small scale, building coarse layers of impasto upon homemade panels in irregular shapes (uneven rectangles, ovals, starburst forms with jagged edges). Often these assemblages bear impromptu frames, built by the artist with found wood, frayed strips of rope, nails or copper wire, introducing a collaged element. “Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s quirky, unassuming paintings don’t fall into any easily recognisable niche or category”, writes Art in America’s Kyle MacMillan. Though his work is informed by the canon of European Modernism and art historical painting, the artist looks equally towards peripheral figures like the visionary Texan painter Forrest Bess.
Born out of meditation on the artist’s dreams, Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s exuberant semi-figurative paintings combine images of nature and fantastical visions that reflect on the artist’s identity and personal experience. Rios Rodriguez introduces us to a rich world of imagery from his inherited and personal cultural identity and his immediate physical environment. His paintings present an unconventional treatment of the traditional subjects of European painting created with a fascinating array of non-traditional materials that come from the world around the artist yet resonate far and wide.
b. 1967, Zurich, Switzerland.
Liliane Tomasko’s abstract paintings employ a distinctive, bold lyricism, with an equally unabashed sense of colour. The artist often begins with a study of the personal effects of everyday domesticity such as bedding or clothing to create work that suggests a gateway into the realms of sleep and dreaming; delving into the gulf between what we understand as the ‘conscious’ and ‘subconscious.’ Recent paintings display an increasing vitality and assertiveness, articulating an abstraction that is rooted in the physical realm but attempting a departure from it. Intense colour, subtle tone, shadows and painterly gesture are woven together in such a way that space comes in and out of focus, suspending one’s perception of them and emulating the clarity or lack thereof of dreams and memories.
b. 1954, Manchester, United Kingdom.
Paul Winstanley is a painter who uses the ostensibly traditional genres of Landscape / Interior / Still Life / Figure / to create works of conceptual rigour that present the relationship of the viewer to the painting as central to the content of the work. At once methodical and melancholic his painterly depictions of landscapes, walkways, veiled windows, TV Lounges, art school studios and individuals distracted in contemplation are rendered in an exacting and subtle palette. Training initially as an abstract and minimalist painter Winstanley reversed the usual trend of early 20th century artists by moving back towards a new, more self aware representational work. His paintings however do retain much of the aesthetic qualities of the earlier abstraction in their pictorial organisation and minimalist feel. His paintings draw as much from historical northern European artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Vermeer and Vilhelm Hammershoi as contemporary, more conceptual practitioners such as Richard Hamilton. The images Winstanley creates contain a sense of imposed order as well as an atmosphere of abandonment or expectation and of time inexorably passing.