Visceral is curated by Coates and Scarry with quest curator artist Mark Surridge and includes a series of prints, paintings and sculptural ceramics that explore abstraction and materiality. The exhibition includes cleverly abstracted works by Surridge, Vincent Hawkins, Laurence Owen, Nina Royle, Jonathan Mess and Matthew David-Smith.

Art can sometimes hit hard, slap you around the face and take you by surprise. The raw power of a gestural brushstroke,  the alchemy of mixing materials or the haptic manipulation of clay can make the experience of appreciating art more visceral, more real.

Imagine a work of art as having a tone of voice, some voices may convey impact and immediacy while others are like whispers, as sensitive as litmus paper on the stain of human consciousness. The intuitive artist is working with internal logic mechanisms able to create works of art that have the ability to touch our heart-felt emotions and euphoric feelings. The act of looking is like an archaeological dig excavating, unpicking layer upon layer of visual material – a materiality to enliven the human senses.

Intuitive abstract artists make paintings and sculptures that tap into our psyche-from the gut rather than the intellect.  Howard Hodgkin describes the end result of his creative process, “When I finish a painting, it usually looks as surprising to me as to anyone else.”

Vincent Hawkin’s monotype relief prints explore the idea of surface and spontaneity. Using colour, material, form and an extensive library of of sketchbooks Hawkins creates abstract works that evolve intuitively creating visceral suggestive works. Hawkins emphasises his use of play when making artworks, constantly exploring new ideas and process. Vincent Hawkins (b. 1959) is based in London. A graduate of the Maidstone College of Art in Kent, England. He holds numerous awards and was selected for Tracey Emin’s Curated Room project at the Royal Academy in 2008.

Jonathan Mess’s sculptures are characterised by his experimental abstraction of clay. Referencing land, maps, strata, geology, and geography Mess uses discarded slop clay, cast-aside glazes and broken work  to create forms that are transformed into unexpected material objects cut and sliced using a stone saw. The weighty materiality of clay is explored in the sculptural ceramic works by Jonathan Mess. Mess (b. 1975) holds an MFA in ceramics from the The State University of New York and was a recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship from Maine Arts Commission in 2015 and the Ruth & Harold Chenven Foundation Grant in 2013.

Laurence Owen explores the phenomenological play between the representation of the psyche and the representation of the world, and how this can be expressed through art. Owen’s ceramics and paintings oscillate between external representation and introspective process both played-out in the construct and content of the resulting images. In this place, high-rise buildings might communicate with each other; the anatomy of a human profile could be constructed from a scaffold of spaghetti; bent knee-caps dance in reverse; and shapes project out and retreat back into the place from where they came. Owen (b. 1984) lives and works in London, holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools and been selected for several prizes including the John Moores Paintings Prize 2016.

Nina Royle’s (b. 1986) small hand sculpted painted panels encompass a direct, material encounter with the physical world, coupled with an impression that these same encounters are fluid, fleeting and subject to change. Each painting is an individual expression of landscape, weather, corporality and time. They convey observations of the small and subjective, sitting within and making the vast; a sense of uncontrollable movement and growth and tensions between ephemerality and permanence in the everyday. Whilst corresponding to an external world, the work can also be read as articulations of a constantly evolving painting process. Royal holds an MA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Painting and has exhibited at The Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall and Exeter Pheonix, Exeter.

Mark Surridge’s paintings reveal traces, signs and veils. Making work from specific sites, each site ‘mapped’, remembered and transformed into works of ‘equivalence of experience’. The paintings suggest aspects of archaeology; images appear half excavated in the paint, revealing hidden codes and syntaxes. Some of the canvases are divided into two parts, suggesting the passing of accumulated time or the movement of an ultra violet scanning device, searching for meaning. He uses the principles of the palimpsest to look at the world, the most distant layers erased or partially erased by the ones in front, the landscape can be seen as a series of elements, pictorial, psychological and metaphorical. Surridge (b.1963)  holds an MA in Painting. Surridge’s distinctive work has been selected for numerous exhibitions including, the Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall, The Royal Academy, London, The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, Mini-Meta Abstract Painting from mid -generation British Artists, London and Tate St Ives, Cornwall. 

Matthew David-Smith’s paintings explore visual form from the collision of urbanisaton, design and technology. By using the material of paint David-Smith’s paintings capture the manmade by formal painting methods, re-introducing expression and removing perfection. City skylines, buildings with different histories, billboards, Facebook feeds and Youtube clips are referenced in the components his richly textured canvases encapsulating the evolving nature of urban centres and technology. David-Smith (b. 1998) studied BA Fine Art at Oxford Brookes and has show his work at several exhibitions in London.