Art First Projects
Helena Goldwater / Rebecca Partridge
17 March – 28 April, 2011
Art First Projects is delighted to present the work of two artists who express a response to the natural world in radically different ways:
At first glance Helena Goldwater’s paintings are delicate but intense watercolours of plant forms. Their attention to detail appears to record nature as a perfectly evolved endeavour. On closer reading however, they reveal hybridised forms, that begin to question truthful representations of the natural order, and in doing so present unidentifiable, biomorphic forms that inhabit in-between states of being. A sinister quality, or something rather humorous emerges, underpinned by the titles. This combination of qualities invites the viewer to experience a degree of discomfort, disrupted by pleasure.
Goldwater has been making performance art since 1989, and paintings since 2003, and in her paintings a concern with the performative is evident. Her watercolours reveal a dedication to the time consuming process of careful, almost obsessive depiction and conceptual exploration, that in themselves can be read as a ‘performance’ on paper. In both her practices she expresses a devotion to craft, utilizing water and paint as alchemical materials. Her performances, which often last many hours, echo her paintings, which take months to make, developing over time to inhabit something ‘other’ than the human realm.
Helena Goldwater graduated from Goldsmith’s Fine Art in 1989 and the Slade School of Art Fine Art (Media) in 1992. She has been nominated twice for the Paul Hamlyn Awards for Visual Artists. Her work has been shown extensively including at Tate Liverpool, Newlyn Art Gallery, Spacex, The Drawing Room and the Western Front, Vancouver.
Rebecca Partridge presents immaculate paintings on panel, and watercolours which draw on luminous fractal geometries, or detailed renderings of un-peopled, ‘north European romantic’ landscape.
In a recent interview she explains:
When I was very young I had synaesthetic dreams. I dreamt of white spaces in which there were these simple, bright geometric forms moving round a centre point that dissolved into a dark chaos…… Apparently it’s very common in synaesthetics to have this alphabet of forms and patterns, vortexes and spirals, particularly in early childhood. Now, I find them everywhere…… At one end of it is the bigger picture, the macro … dealing with huge, vast spaces and evoking a sense of awe and fear that is thought of as ‘sublime’. Then there is the micro, the point of origin from which this vastness has expanded, which is represented in the ordered precise geometry of Indian mandalas. They may appear very different, but actually they’re dealing with the same thing. They have a connection, a sense of continuum.
Rebecca Partridge graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 2007, having attended Bath Spa in the 1990’s. She now divides her time between Berlin and London. She has recently had solo shows in Sweden and Germany and her work has been included in group shows across Europe and the UK. She has undertaken artist residencies in Mallorca, Iceland, France, India and Hungary.