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All Men By Nature Desire to Know: Featured Artists

16 Jan 2017

Curator Joshua Lockwood in the Gallery, in front of two new works by Stefania Batoeva.

The history of painting will be explored in a new exhibition of four contemporary artists whose work broadens and challenges our understanding of the traditional medium. All Men By Nature Desire to Know – at Bonington Gallery from Friday 13 January to Friday 17 February – will present a variety of works which examine the evolution of the art form and reflect how it’s been influenced over time. The exhibition – curated by Nottingham-based artist Joshua Lockwood – features works by Stefania Batoeva, Flora Klein, Audrey Reynolds and Alan Michael. There will be an accompanying text by Rachal Bradley.

“Painting is the world’s oldest art form and hasn’t died out by any means,” says Josh. “It has changed considerably through history and is used in different ways today than used to be. Today there are many ways to create an image, instantly and with more simplicity than by painting. Contemporary painters adopt these new modes of image making to inform their painting, opening up dialogues of their position within the present.

“Technological development, such as photography and more, has made painting more indefinite, allowing the movement of painting towards abstract art, transgressing Western painting historically of being the art of representation.

“Painting is quite a difficult medium as it demands your full attention. You can look at a painting for five seconds or hours in the action of analysis. As such it can be hard for viewers to unpack for we are used to seeing imagery taken through a lens.

“This exhibition brings together four contemporary practitioners who are working today, adding to the continuing narrative of the medium of painting. Influences from the past are absorbed and rejected creating a fresh reality for each painting.”

Here is a selection of artists and their works for our exhibition All Men By Nature Desire to Know

Stefania Batoeva
Never Sleep Never Die, 2016, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 170 x 200 cm

Stefania Batoeva (b. 1981 Sofia, Bulgaria) is a London-based artist who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2014. Her paintings cross between the traditional form of painting and sculpture – often created as site specific work.

Batoeva’s work also blurs the line between abstract and figure-based painting, exploring ideas around the subconscious and memory. 

New Friend, 2015, Oil on canvas, 230 x 180 cm

The paintings are difficult to categorise – as Batoeva captures moments in vivid colours which feel similar to distant memories; almost-recognisable figures obscured by heavy brush-strokes, smears and scratch – or the figures themselves represented through loose brush-stokes themselves, almost disappearing into the background.

Club II, 2015, Oil on canvas, 230 x 180 cm

Stefania will be producing new works specifically for All Men By Nature Desire To Know. Find out more:

Recent solo exhibitions include:

Recent group exhibitions include:

Audrey Reynolds

Audrey Reynolds lives and works in London and Folkestone, and studied at Bath College of Art and at Chelsea College of Art, London. 

Reynolds’ work is a mix of sculpture, installation and painting – all of which incorporate seemingly random objects and materials including modelling clay and household paints, as well as fitted carpets, ribbons and brass letters.

Arietta, 2008, MDF, modelling clay, paint, ribbon, 122 x 120 cm

 Layers of paint are built up and scratched away, with the found objects embedded into the surface of double-sided paintings, creating sparse but carefully arranged compositions. On the other hand, installations of rugs and carpets blur the line between a functional object and an artwork. In her writing, Reynolds exposes fragments of everyday life, reflecting on the ordinary before slipping into more abstract passages where it isn’t clear quite who or what is being written about, while still conveying a sense of something personal… in a way, something quite similar to her paintings. 

1888 (right side), 2014, oil paint, wood dye, household paint on MDF, 31 x 40 cm.

Audrey will be producing new works specifically for All Men By Nature Desire To Know.

Solo exhibitions include:

A collection of her writing will be published by AkermanDaly in Spring 2017.

Flora Klein

Flora Klein was born in 1988 Bern, Switzerland, she currently lives and works in Berlin. She Graduated with a BA in Fine Arts at ECAL, Lausanne in 2013.

The Sex, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 145 x 110 cm

Layers of acrylics are used to build up abstract blocks of colour with contrasting strands spreading across the top of the base layers like ribbons. Although Klein’s work is easy to identify in style (the paintings often share a palette of bold oranges, browns and reds, and recurring lines and shapes can also be found between the works), none of the works have a clear subject or even a main focal point. 

As a result, a lot of the meaning is left up to the viewer – the paintings don’t immediately suggest a clear emotion, are neither masculine or feminine, and the titles don’t give many clues either.

Find out more about Flora’s recent exhibitions:

For this exhibition, Flora will be showing new works which have not been seen in the UK before.

Alan Michael

Alan Michael was born in 1967 in Paisley, Scotland, he now lives and works in London.

Rose Clouds of Holocaust, Pervert, Fone, 2014, silkscreen, oil and acrylic on canvas, 173 x 124 cm

Michael’s paintings are often photorealistic renderings of everyday objects, taken from obscure reference photos – or film stills as is the case with his latest work included in All Men By Nature Desire To Know.

A Troll, 2015, laser copies mounted on canvas, 75 x 105 cm

The other side to Michael’s work includes text-based paintings which also borrow from varied reference points – including brand names and pop culture references – as well as referring to other artworks and art movements. 

All of Michael’s work seems to hone in on meticulous details, but the meaning behind the paintings is harder to pin down. The mix of text and imagery sometimes seem to be at odds with each other, or at least have little obvious links. Still, the works draw the viewer in; inviting you to try and unpick them and the intentions of the painter.

details of two new works included in All Men By Nature Desire To Know

Alan Michael has produced new works specifically for All Men By Nature Desire To Know. Here are a couple of sneak peeks:

details of a new work included in All Men By Nature Desire To Know

Recent solo exhibitions include:

Recent group exhibitions include: