Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art opens Merlin James exhibition

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents Merlin James an exhibition on view 6 June–10 August 2013.

Merlin James, Twelve, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 59 x 63 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. © Merlin James.

Merlin James, Twelve, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 59 x 63 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. © Merlin James.

The exhibition will focus on a selection of works ranging from the start of James’ career (the early 1980s) through to the present day. This will be the artist’s first major solo exhibition in a London institution.

James’ somewhat enigmatic paintings address a vast and eclectic range of subject matter and richly metaphoric imagery, including land- and sea-scapes, figures, and architecture and interior scenes. What they frequently have in common is their modest scale, highly considered composition and a seeming effortlessness of execution which belies their complexity. As particular and individual in their use of colour as they are distinctive in composition, James’ works interrogate traditional approaches to painting, often actively integrating the physicality of the canvas and stretcher into the composition, as well as incorporating dust, glue or debris into the surface. Heightening a sense of intentionality, or purpose, James at times cuts holes in, or adds three-dimensional objects to, the work.

James’ work often seems to comment on or make reference to modernist painting, and much that has been written about his work concentrates on his sources in art. But although he does draw on the ‘golden age’ of modern painting, and paintings by lesser known modern artists, to dwell excessively on James’ sources would be to miss altogether the intensity of the viewing experience and the ensuing intellectual challenges his work offers.

Born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1960, Merlin James studied in London at the Central School of Art and the Royal College of Art. He currently lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.

This exhibition has been generously supported by Belinda de Gaudemar and Berna and Tolga Tuglular.

Related Events:

The Psychoanalysis of Making: Lecture by Prof. Margaret Iversen
Monday 10 June, 7pm
Taking the writings of art critic Adrian Stokes as its starting point, this lecture by Professor Margaret Iversen will explore the different psychodynamic relationships played out through artists’ use of carving and modelling in art-making.

Artist Talk: Merlin James
Tuesday 25 June, 7pm
Exhibiting artist Merlin James will discuss his painting practice in relation to the artists who have influenced him. Glasgow-based James has exhibited nationally and internationally over the past two decades, and continues to lecture and write widely on the subject of painting.

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road, London, N1 7RW
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10–6pm; Sunday 12–5pm; Monday by appointment only
Free admission
T + 44 (0)20 7490 7373
[email protected]