Narbi Price is interested in perceived histories of locations and how painting can question the understanding of architectural and pictorial space. He is engaged with challenging the conventions of photographically derived painting in terms of paint application and composition, and in blurring the line between the figurative and the abstract.
His paintings are derived from photographs taken on trips, as a result of meticulous research, to very exact sites – places that have witnessed a range of events, from murders to whimsical acts that have spawned folklore.
For example ‘Untitled Black Door Painting (304)’ shows the front door to the home of Joe Meek, pioneering record producer, most famous for the iconic Telstar by The Tornados. It was here that in 1967, sunken into debt and depression, Meek shot and killed his landlady and himself.
‘Untitled Canal Painting’ depicts a beauty spot where a Victorian drunkard murdered his wife and where English soap star Pat Phoenix ran a popular pub close to a century later.
‘Untitled Well Painting’ takes the location of the Lambton Well, a significant site in North East English folklore, celebrated in the song, The Lambton Worm. Claimed as the well where Lord Lambton threw the Wyrm (or Worm) before leaving to fight in the First Crusade, of particular interest is that this site is almost certainly not what it claims to be (it's on top of Worm Hill, in Wormhill Terrace) but shares many topographical characteristics with an industrial slag heap.
For his recent solo exhibition, ‘Shan’t Quit’, Narbi Price presented a series of paintings and lithographic prints of the locations of the Whitechapel, London, ‘Jack The Ripper’ murders of 1888, based on photographs of the sites as they are today. Using the forensic information from the time, Price was able to take photographs accurate to within 30cm of the exact sites, now variously car parks, schoolyards, loading bays, etc. There is no immediate indication to the viewer of the depicted sites’ histories. The only acknowledgement is that the works’ titles are suffixed with the victims’ initials in brackets – making it possible to decode the provenance of the locations. Once the viewer knows the history of the depicted site, the reading of the painting changes irrevocably. Price invites rumination upon the contrast between the histories of any given site and the mundanity of the experience of it – an effect heightened by the mediation of the painting process.
Price’s use of disparate techniques and deliberately disharmonious compositions push the works to the point where they teeter on the edge of dissolution. His intention is to produce a subtly disorientating effect in the viewer – there is an awkwardness or sense of unease about the images, but it is not immediately obvious why.
CV & Education
Born 1979 in Hartlepool, lives and works in Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
MFA, Newcastle University 2008 – 2010
BA (Hons) Fine Art, Northumbria University 1999 – 2002
The Haworth Prize, Mall Galleries, London, 2015
Beyond the Goldmine Standard, RPM, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2015
(detail), The Usher Gallery, Lincoln, 2015
Narbi Price 60x45, (solo presentation), GalleriaSIX, Milan, Italy 2014
(detail), Transition Gallery, London, 2014
The Manchester Contemporary with Vane, 2014
VOLTA10, (solo presentation), Markthalle, Basel, Switzerland, 2014
(detail), H-Project Space, Bangkok, Thailand, 2014
Towards a New Socio-Painting, Transition Gallery, London, 2014
HYDRA, Unit 53, Bolton, 2014
‘another landscape’, Whistle Art Stop, Haltwhistle, 2014
Between Fact and Fiction, Vane, Newcastle upon Tyne 2014
Small is Beautiful XXXI – Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? Flowers Gallery, London 2013
End of the Line, Paper Gallery, Manchester, 2013
The Manchester Contemporary, with Vane and Paper Gallery, 2013
Painting Past Present: A Painter’s Craft, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013
Shan’t Quit, (solo show) Vane, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013
Luminous Language, Launch F18, New York, USA 2013
Paper#3, Paper Gallery, Manchester, 2012
John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool , 2012
The Manchester Contemporary, with Paper Gallery, 2012
neo:artprize, neo:gallery22, Bolton 2012
6 X 4, Motorcade FlashParade, Bristol, 2012
Omnia Mea Mecum Porto – Works On Paper, Kotti-Shop, Berlin, Germany, 2012
Arte Fiera, with Marc Bijl, Bologna, Italy 2012
Hole Editions - Ink on Paper, Durham Art Gallery & DLI Museum, Durham, 2011
Narbi Price - Solo Show of Site Specific Work, GalleriaSIX, Milan, Italy 2011
Nothing, Like Something, Happens Anywhere – New Work by Narbi Price and Neil Cammock, Moving Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011
9, ACADovetail, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011
John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 2010
MFA2010, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2010
Laugh? I Nearly Bought One, Richard Ling Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne 2010
PRINT, Mushroom Works, Newcastle upon Tyne 2009
Summer 2009, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne 2009
Quattro Part 2, Lamplight Arts Centre, Stanley 2009
The MAs, Atkinson Gallery, Street 2009
Quattro, Moot Hall Gallery, Hexham 2008
Group Show, Newcastle Arts Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne 2005
Basement, Waygood Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne 2003
Northern Graduates, New Academy & Curwen Galleries, London 2003
Fresh Art, Business Design Centre, London 2002
John Moores Painting Prize, Prizewinner 2012
Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts 2011
Bartlett Travel Scholarship 2010
AHRC Research Bursary 2008
Northumbria University Post Graduate Fellowship in Painting 2002
British Airways Travel Award 2002