Sunday, 13 February 2011

Phoebe Unwin @ Wilkinson

Just before I left for Australia I spent a delightful Sunday East.
Beginning with coffee and cake at Allpress with Dee and Marawa (fresh from trans-continental adventures), followed by flower shopping at Columbia Road and culminating in a visit to one of my favourite galleries, Wilkinson (previously mentioned on this blog when things got a little rowdy with Thea, Siggy, Leigh et al).

I first discovered the work of Phoebe Unwin (very uncooly) at the Newspeak: British Art Now Part One show at the Saatchi Gallery.
The paintings by her, and maybe 2 other artists really stood out in that show and when I googled them that night, turns out they are all represented by Wilkinson.

Once you get beyond the enormous black dungeon-like doors of Wilkinson, the space inside is bright, open and clean but not sterile. The fabulous colour of her paintings was perfectly suited to such a setting.

What first drew me to her work was her talent as a colourist.
Some of her work is quite abstract expressionist in the intense and at times kinetic use of colour. Colour conveys the mood of each work, some gentle and poetic, others complex and murky or even violent. At times the canvases are monochromatic and with clear economy of line, at others there is a complexity of layered hues and techniques.

Her paintings have been described as explaining visually what something feels like, not what something looks like. This is best illustrated by the solitary figures found in her works, who always seem lost in the thoughts surrounding them on the canvas.

Each piece is absolutely original and unique.
This is my current favourite, 'Falling Sunglasses'.

(Installation shot on my bedside table.)

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