Merlin James

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art

6 June - 10 August 2013

Merlin James, Tree and Wall, 1983, Waterbased paint, chalk and charcoal on board, 22.5 x 31 cm, Courtesy of the artist, Ruth Clark Photography © Merlin James

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents the work of Welsh painter Merlin James from 6 June to 10 August 2013, focusing on a selection of works from his early career in the 1980s to the present. This will be the artist’s first major solo exhibition in a London institution.


James’ somewhat enigmatic paintings address a vast and eclectic range of subject matter and richly metaphoric imagery. What they frequently have in common is their modest scale, highly-considered composition and a seeming effortlessness of execution. James' works interrogate traditional approaches to painting, often actively integrating the physicality of the canvas and stretcher into the composition, as well as incorporating dust, glue or debris into the surface. James at times cuts holes in, or adds three-dimensional objects to, the work.


Although James’ draws on the 'golden age' of modern painting, and paintings by lesser known modern artists, to dwell excessively on James' sources would be to miss altogether the intensity of the viewing experience and the ensuing intellectual challenges his work offers. 


Born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1960, Merlin James studied in London at the Central School of Art and the Royal College of Art. He currently lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. 

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