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The title Soft Painting aims to draw our attention to the actual physical qualities of a painting rather than acting as an introduction to an image or to suggest a narrative.  Simon Callery creates paintings that communicate on a physical level.  A painting can be soft or hard as much as it can be red or green.

From Monday 13 – Wednesday 29 April Simon worked in the gallery space with a selected group of Nottingham Trent BA (Hons) Fine Art students and Nottingham-based artists, to produce three large-scale works.  Rolls of canvas were washed and prepared for saturation in pigmented distempers  – a process where the industrial starch is removed from the canvas and the dense and highly coloured medium is washed into the softened fabric at high temperature.  These worked canvasses were then hung off frames to dry before being cut up, sorted and sewn into the formal configurations of soft paintings.

From Thursday 30 April – Friday 15 May the Gallery took the form of a contemporary gallery space, where the outcomes of the making process were realised in a final staged exhibition.

We caught up with Simon at his London-based studio for a behind the scenes look at his collection and to view his work in progress:

For the duration of this exhibition the Gallery became a space for learning where the connections between the making, installing and exhibition of artwork were exposed.  The public were invited to witness and engage with the entire process.

Participants shared their images on Instagram using the hashtag #SoftPainting, you can read more about how the project evolved on our Latest News page.

Exhibition Resources

From our Blog

Detail From Simon Callery’s solo show, Soft Painting, at NBoningotn Gallery earlier this year

On 12 June, Castlefield Gallery (Manchester) opened their major Summer exhibition, Real Painting; a group exhibition curated by Deb Covell and Jo McGonigal, which “emphasizes the essential grammar of painting, considering not necessarily what a painting means but what it ‘does’.”

Following on from his solo exhibition Soft Painting here in the gallery in April / May this year,Simon Callery is exhibiting works which continue to focus on engaging the viewer on a physical level, rather than just a reaction to an image.

Installation view from Simon Callery: Soft Painting; Wiltshire Modulor Double Void, 2010 – 2015.

Other artists include; Adriano Costa, Deb Covell, Angela de la Cruz, Lydia Gifford, David Goerk, Alexis Harding, Jo McGonigal, DJ Simpson, Finbar Ward.

Real Painting will be on show until Sunday 2 August, 2015. For more information, visit the exhibition page on Castlefield Gallery’s website here, and be sure to follow Castlefield Gallery on Facebook and Twitter for more images from the show.

Here is a selection of blog posts form Simon Callery’s recent solo show, Soft Painting

Soft Painting has begun!
Simon Callery with students dying fabric for the show Soft Painting

Soft Painting has begun! Come and take a look as the exhibition unfolds between now and the preview on Wednesday 29 April, when the paintings will be completed and on show for further two and a half weeks. Visit the exhibition page for more details.

Soft Painting: Week 1

Simon Callery has now been working in the gallery since Monday, along with a select group of BA (Hons) Fine Art students from here at NTU and Nottingham-based artists.

Here’s a quick recap of the week in photos:

Soft Painting Week 2

Here are some progress shots from this week, taken by local artist and photographer, Julian Hughes:

Assistants: Yajie Jiang and Joshua Wheeler 

For more of Julian’s work, be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Soft Painting Week 2 Recap

With just a few days to go until the preview, work on Soft Painting will continue through the weekend. Here’s a recap of the process from this week

Simon Callery: Soft Painting: Midway Preview – in photos:

From 13 – 29 April, Simon Callery worked in the gallery space with a selected group of Nottingham Trent University BA (Hons) Fine Art students, and a group of Nottingham-based artists to produce three large-scale works. These works will now be on display in the gallery until Friday 15 May. Come and take a look!

Here’s a few photos from last night’s midway preview – thanks to all who came along.

New addition to the Nottingham Trent University collection

We are delighted to unveil the latest addition to the Nottingham Trent University art collection from artist Simon Callery. Simon joined us in 2015 for his solo exhibition Soft PaintingWiltshire Modulor (small, 2010-2013) will be on permanent display in Bonington Gallery’s foyer space.

The recent opening of our new exhibitions also marked the un-veiling of the latest addition to the NTU art collection. This joins a host of works and artefacts on display in our foyer that relate to past exhibitions and we’ll be contributing to this selection going forwards.

Ahead of his show here at the Gallery in April / May 2015, Simon Callery invited us down to his studio just outside of London. Simon and Gallery Resource Manager Tom Godfrey discuss the process of creating a painting and Simon’s approach to colour, as well as thoughts on collaboration, experimentation and much more.