ON THE EDGE: Between Abstraction and Representation, Fantasy and Reality

On the Edge is ROLLO Contemporary Art’s next thematic group show, bringing together 5 female artists who’s work bridges between abstraction and representation, creating works which suggest a state between fantasy and reality. The artists selected for the exhibition (22 April to 29 May 2009) show a deep engagement with materiality and process, manipulating their media to put attention on the materials and matter of their works of art.

The exhibition unites 5 cutting edge emerging artists who in their young careers have captured the attention of prestigious public galleries, collectors and prizes.

Natalie Gale: mixed media, sculpture, collage, paintings.
Nadine Feinson: Painting.
Rhea O Neill Paintings:
Michelle Souter: Mono-print drawings
Jane Ward: mixed media, digital prints

Natalie Gale: (Slade School of Fine Art MA 2008, public solo show at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2005.) The sensual properties of paint and painting are united with tales of fictional erotic mythologies, surrealist poetry and classical painting, making manifest objects of seduction. Teetering on the edge of sickly sweet the work exudes a make-believe feeling, a feeling of something deliciously wicked and indulgent, filled with baroque excess. Incorporating antlers, deer furs and human hair into paintings drawings and sculptural objects adorned with oozing thick paint, Gale’s work, pivots between desire and disgust; engaging with the abject in art.

Nadine Feinson, detail of painting

Nadine Feinson; (The Future Can Wait 2007 and 2008, short listed for the Celeste Art Prize 2006, currently undertaking a PHD at the Royal College of Art.)
Feinson’s paintings are deeply engaged with the materiality of paint and the process of making. Dragging, pressing, smearing paint across the surface of the canvas, abstract imprints articulate the movement and energy of paint. Rather than seeking to represent an object, paint stands confidently as the start and end point in Feinson’s artworks. These gestural marks create other wordly, mysterious imagery, suggestive of an energetic release, whilst tracing the artist’s hand.

Rhea O Neill: (MFA Now prize winner 2009, collection of the Government Art Collection) O Neill is a landscape painter whose use of hyper real colours and fluid composition imbues her work with a sense of fantasy, giving British landscape painting a contemporary twist. Concerned with the materiality of paint, O’Neill applies paint in a range of methods, pouring paint to encourage organic shapes to appear allowing the paint to dictate the composition of the painting. This process allows the artist to work mainly from imagination and memory rather than a set composition, adding to the sense of fantasy and freedom in the work.
Having won MFA now competition, organized by Kay Saatchi and supported by Judy Chicago, O Neill’s work will be part of a traveling exhibition in the US this summer.

Michelle Souter (Central St Martin MA graduate 2007, collectors include Richard Greer) Hidden within Souter’s elaborate mono-print drawings, ambiguous shapes evocative of genitals can be found. Repetitive and decorative, the patterns draw the viewer in, leading the eye to trace the artists obsessive mark making. Souter spins an elaborate web of intricate marks which are both floral and vaginal, drawing the viewer into a fantasy world with an edge of darkness. Looking closer still, images of bodies, animals and minute texts emerge within the patterns.
The artist sees her process of making as recording unconscious impulses. Drawing always with her non writing hand, the artist seeks to further remove the imagery from straight representation emphasizing the ambiguity and fantastical quality of her imagery.

Jane Ward (graduate RCA 2007, Celeste Prize finalist 07, New Contemporizes 08) Ward explores the boundaries of reality and the imaginary in her staged and digitally manipulated photographs. Images of idealized miniature environment of model villages and images of the natural world are overlaid and collaged into one image. The subsequent confusion of scale and fragmentation of imagery causes questions concerning our perception of the world, the boarders between the stable and unstable, utopia and dystopia. Hyper real vibrant colours further emphasize the element of fantasy in Ward’s imagery. Interjections of paint applied to the surface of the images by the artist further removes the work from straight reality, revealing the disruption of imagery at the artists hand.


For further details about or any of the artists featured please contact Philippa Found, philippa@rolloart.com
+44 (0)207 580 0020.

ROLLO Contemporary Art Gallery launched in 2005 with The Writer, the installation of a 30m high table and chair on Hampstead Heath, and fast established itself as a serious force in the art world.

ROLLO supports emerging artists through to the well-established, such as gallery artist Frank Bowling RA.

Based originally in Islington, the gallery moved temporarily to Albemarle Street W1 in 2007 before finding its permanent home in Fitzrovia, London’s new art quarter, in January 2008. As well as holding seven exhibitions within the gallery space a year ROLLO continues to organise outside projects, aiming to bring art to innovative spaces to reach a wider audience and make art more accessible. In 2008 ROLLO organized three art projects in Selfridges department store with artist Claire Morgan. Currently ROLLO has an exhibition of Frank Bowling RA’s work showing at Clifford Chance, London office in the 30th floor exhibition space and in 2010 ROLLO will be curating an exhibiting at New Hall, Cambridge.

Gallery Directors are Philippa Found and Simon Gillespie.

Philippa Found’s area of interest is female art and the body in art. Philippa is curating a series of travelling exhibitions throughout 2010 surveying the body in contemporary female art-practice. The exhibitions will be shown at ROLLO Contemporary Art and New Hall exhibition space in Cambridge, home of New Hall Art Collection, the largest collection of female art in the UK, second in the world only to the National Museum of Women in the Arts Washington.

Simon Gillespie’s background is in restoration and conservation of art, having run Simon Gillespie Studio for over 27 years. This has endowed Simon with an incredible knowledge of artistic techniques and leads him to seek out art of high technical standing. His knowledge and training also account for his ability to spot art that is durable. Simon has extensive experience in building private collections in both Europe and the US. In the late 90s Simon created Berger’s collection of British art, culminating in the publication and exhibition of ‘600 years of British Painting’ at Denver Art Museum, Colorado.

Future exhibitions scheduled at ROLLO through 2009 are:
Photography in Painting, 2nd June – 10th July, group exhibition,
Old Master Reinterpreted 14th July – 28th August,
Sharon McPhee solo show, 2nd September – 23rd September,
The Body in Female Art: travelling exhibition 26th September – 20th November
ROLLO Emerge 2: Graduates of Summer 09 24th November – 22nd January 2010

ROLLO Contemporary Art – 51 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 4JH • 020 7580 0020