Although its pretty much under my nose I hadn’t previously made it to Modern Painters, New Decorators in the Carillon Court shopping centre in Loughborough. An invite to this enterprising space, run – I believe – by ex-Loughborough art School people, was quite a shock. The venue is bright and inviting, unpretentious but very sympathetic to work on the modest to fairly substantial size range – overall a very welcome addition to the smallish stock of decent spaces for contemporary work in this neck of the woods.
Once inside the show is an intriguing one – Sam Francis Read is an artist I’d not come across before. Jackie Berridge I know well. The way in which they work together here is thematic rather than media based – unusual in itself but it works well. Sam’s work is mostly small and print based allowing for a dialogue with Jackie’s larger canvases that is conducted by their joint exploration of figurative and narrative elements that are drawn from both the world as primary subject matter and secondary sources such as children’s book illustration or cartoon characters. In Read’s work this is filtered through an obsession with the line that is mapped out through the medium of print.
His approach places the image element off kilter within a larger ground and the facture that results lends these already ghosted figures a curious and rather alarming mien. This might appear to be at odds with Berridge’s panoramic canvases and yet they too often conjure up strange and disconcerting vistas and narratives, where a battery of sophisticated and beautifully painterly deft touches work up, but are never over elaborated. This is an intriguing exhibition with plenty of useful and interesting contextual material (video interviews, text panels and book samples) to supplement the viewing experience. Well worth the trip into Loughborough town centre, the show runs till 3rd March. Details from: https://www.facebook.com/mpndprojects/