This Must Be the Place - Narbi Price New Paintings and Lithographs11th May 2017 - 1st July 2017
Location: Vane, First Floor, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QE
Narbi Price’s work involves journeys to specific places that have witnessed a range of events – variously historical, famous, personal or forgotten. He researches the precise location of a chosen event and, working from photographs taken at the site, makes paintings in the studio focussing on the abstract, formal and painterly qualities of the resultant images.
This process removes the conscious choice of subject matter; he must work with whatever is present at the spot. Whilst clearly photographically derived, the paintings use the language of abstraction to simultaneously acknowledge and disrupt the representational image. The paint is transparent, opaque, glossy, matt, dilute and impasted, often within the same work.
As viewers, we are not immediately made aware of the specific histories of the sites and are given space to wonder about the multiplicities of events that might have taken place, an effect heightened by the painting method. Our experience of the work shifts as we become aware of the provenance of the depicted sites.
Two works in the exhibition show the site where the artist was the victim of an unprovoked attack in his hometown – an anonymous path and a gutter. By contrast another pair of works depict the filming locations of the yard gates in the iconic sitcom Steptoe and Son, now a plate-glass office building and a scrap yard. Price is interested in the simultaneous multiplicities of histories present in any site and in how our focus on a specific narrative can colour our interpretation of the place accordingly.
The show sees the launch of a suite of original lithographs made in collaboration with Newcastle-based Master Printer Hole Editions. The prints feature roadside floral memorials. Stripped of their original contexts, these totemic tributes become poignant acknowledgements of lost lives and loves. The exhibition will be accompanied by a critical essay by curator Matthew Hearn.
Exhibition preview: Wednesday 10 May, 5-8pm