Avis Newman Iniquitous
19 March - 10 May 2014
Andrew Mummery is pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibition
of paintings and drawings by Louise Hopkins, and the installation
of a new work by Avis Newman.
Louise Hopkins’s exhibition consists of new works made during
the last four years, alongside several earlier works, including one
dating back to 1998. This selection shows the rigour and consistency,
yet increasing diversity, of her ongoing investigation into painting.
The surfaces that Hopkins uses are both the source material and the
site of her work. In her latest exhibition these surfaces include
world maps, pages from catalogues advertising jewellery and household
goods, photographs, and sheets of folded paper. Louise Hopkins’s
work is characterised by an economy of means, but not of meaning.
In her work paint becomes an agent of power in an uncertain world,
a way of exploring both freedom and doubt.
Louise Hopkins. Bull-Table
Painting  ink on photograph. 20.2 x 25.5 cm
Bull-Table Painting  is part of an ongoing series
of paintings Hopkins is making on photographs. Other works from this
series have used photographs of wooden floorboards and photographs
of patterned furnishing fabric as surfaces for painting. Bull-Table
Painting is unusual in Hopkins’s oeuvre in that she has used
herself as model. She is depicted in her studio, seemingly on her
hands and knees, appearing, perhaps, to support a worktable on which
stands a large black bull. However, there are various kinds of illusions
here in the relationship between the paint and the photographic image.
In Setting , four female figures with long dresses
have been drawn over and around images of knives, forks and spoons
that are part of a page taken from a catalogue advertising home tableware.
There seems to be a suggestion that the figures are constructed from
the implements as well as interacting with the cutlery. Who they are,
which era in time they might come from, and what they represent, are
ambiguous. In both works, an irreverent and dark sense of humour seems
to be at play. In Bull-Table Painting and Setting, like many of the
works in the exhibition, conventional means of depiction, hierarchies
and modes of display are disrupted.
Since 1997 Hopkins has been painting and drawing onto maps, often
world maps. The surface of the paper on which she works is also the
surface of the world. These paintings could be seen to have a subtle
political or ecological message. Hopkins does not respect geographical
boundaries when she paints onto maps, but rather the act of painting
is a way of cancelling or manipulating boundaries, be they political,
geographical, or of another kind.
In the earliest work in the exhibition, World Map ,
she has mixed paint to the same colour blue as the sea of the printed
map and used it to cover all the land depicted, as well as all the
text and the longitude and latitude lines, until the surface becomes
a rectangle of pale blue. The landmasses of the world are visible
only as a subtle trace. Is this some catastrophic inundation, a protest
against nationalism and the nation state, or a search for purity?
The approach to this early painting is reflected and developed in
several of the recent works in the exhibition.
Louise Hopkins. Quarters
 acrylic on world map. 50 x 70 cm
 is another painting on a world map, again referring to the
seas. Four different colours, in uneven blocks, cover the surface
of the world. Is this a new flag that does not denote a country or
nationality? Here Hopkins has used as a kind of ledger, or starting
point, the place-names that refer to colour, such as ‘Red Sea’
and ‘Yellow Sea’. While there is logic here, it is combined
with irreverence towards rules and restrictions.
Louise Hopkins lives and works in Glasgow. Recent group exhibitions
have included A Picture Show at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow
in 2013/14. In June this year, Louise Hopkins and Carol Rhodes will
have a two-person exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers, which is part
of Below Another Sky curated by Alexia Holt. From August-November
this year, Hopkins will have a one-person exhibition at Linlithgow
Burgh Halls, forming part of the GENERATION programme, a landmark
series of exhibitions tracing the development of contemporary art
in Scotland over the last 25 years. In 2007 Hopkins was one of the
artists representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale and in 2005 a
survey exhibition of her work entitled Freedom of Information was
presented at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.
Newman Iniquitous Symmetries 
temptation of geometry is the intellectual temptation par excellence.
It is the temptation of intellectual Caesars. We must cultivate and
defend particularity, individuality and irregularity – life.
Human beings do not have a future in the collectivism of bureaucratic
states or in the mass society of capitalism………As
a forgotten Spanish poet, Jose Moreno Villa put it with melancholy
wit: “I have discovered in symmetry the root of much iniquity”.
Octavia Paz 1979
Avis Newman Iniquitous
Symmetries . Studio installation shot.
In the same way as other of Avis Newman’s artworks of the last
five years, her new three-part canvas work, Iniquitous Symmetries,
relates to a number of the artist’s longstanding (eternal) preoccupations.
Boundary, edge and framing the limits of the unframed, become a series
of operations that interfere with any anticipation we might have of
completion. Newman’s recent works suggests a space of fluctuations
where the assemblage of parts and imaginative constructions exist
as a collection of relations, a series of mobile relationships in
space and time. Stretched and un-stretched canvas - hanging, stacked,
leaning or overlapping - partially conceal surfaces that are in themselves
layered traces. Marks made on the canvases could (or might) suggest
all manner of encoded signs, diagrammatic representations, or an array
of symbolic forms - a lexicon of historic images that calls into question
description and assumptions of context and meaning. The suggestion
is always that any arrangement is provisional and potentially available
to perpetual reconfiguration. Newman has described her working process
as a series of ‘configurations’ enabling the work to resist
The title of the new work harks back to another, An Awful Symmetry
, one of a series of small boxes that Newman made in the 80s
and 90s. These freestanding, or wall hung, containers housed all manner
of organic substances. Newman likened the sense of these works to
the intimate experience and structure of poetry, the titles often
alluding to phrases from poems, or making associations with particular
poets, notably Paul Celan. The works are a contemplation of the limits
of language and of how it is possible, or not possible, to speak the
world in a traumatic age. This idea is carried through into the recent
canvas works by Newman’s use of limited colour, and her reference
to qualities of colourlessness associated with drawing, and to Kandinsky’s
notion of black and white as ‘silent colour’.
Avis Newman lives and works in London. Recently, her work was included
in the 2013 Moscow Biennial and in On Line: Drawing Through the
Twentieth Century at the Museum of Modern Art, New York .
Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at a number of international
venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney , Camden
Arts Centre, London , Ikon Gallery, Birmingham , De Appel
Foundation, Amsterdam  and the Renaissance Society at the University
of Chicago .
For further information, please contact Mummery + Schnelle on:
+44 (0)20 7729 9707 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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by Louise Hopkins
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further works by Avis Newman
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