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Press Release

Southard Reid is proud to present Cur, a solo exhibition of new work by Celia Hempton. This is Hempton’s second solo show at the gallery.

Cur, which follows her recent exhibition Vug at the NAK, continues Hempton’s affectionately reverent pushing and playing with notions of painting, the act of its making, its forms and presentation. Her wider practice involves an exploration into interweaving the territories of painting, installation and performative painterly documentation.

The material takes three forms – wall-based painting, individual paintings on canvas and painted panels. The layering of formal elements in installation is interplayed with conventions of painterly subject matter, abstraction, landscape and nude.

The primary layer consists of paintings made by Hempton directly on to the walls of the gallery - blurred backdrops, suggestive of architectural or natural ruin decayed in to a sensuously dirty abstraction. Quietly grand in scale and allusion to the tradition of classical frieze painting, the wall works also act as support ground for the series of smaller paintings on canvas installed across their surfaces.

Each of the paintings on canvas are nudes of selected subjects, female and male, captured in situ with a bold immediacy of painting partially activated by the intimacy and urgency inherent in the charged act of ‘recording’ the figure or figures often explicitly exposed to her. The focus on bodily parts underlines the awareness of the (female) artist’s position of power and scrutiny implicit in the act of making the works. The works also however embody the trust, at times tenderness and heightened sexuality in the exchange. Hempton’s nudes acknowledge and revel in painting as a recording of performance, depictions of an actual and emotional scenario in which she has placed herself as well as her subject.

The final element in Cur is the meticulously colour-blended shaped panels of various scale placed to lean against the wall painting of the upstairs gallery.

Celia Hempton was born in 1981. Recent solo shows include Vug at the NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, January – March 2013 and Tin at Take Courage, London, 2012. Recent group shows include Ruby, Gallery Vela, London, SV12, Studio Voltaire, London, 2012. From 2008–10 she was the Sainsbury Award holder at the British School at Rome. She graduated from an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2007 receiving the Neville Burston Memorial Award. Her BA was completed at Glasgow School of Art in 2003.

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