Spectral Ground: Paintings by Marielle Hehir and Robert Mead

15 Sept - 03 Oct
The Woodshed Gallery, Bail Steps

We are painters working at a time of great environmental change. In our individual practices, we both explore ways in which painting can be a carrier of stories; often these stories are told through composition, symbols, characters, and in some works the materials themselves have stories to tell. In similar yet different ways, our paintings offer more than just traditional human perspectives on contemporary landscape. In Robert’s work, the viewer is encouraged to meander vertically through layers which continue seemingly underground, passing through zones of material whilst digging for new meaning. In Marielle’s work the viewer is presented with up-close, enlarged or maybe even aerial perspectives, in her more abstract paintings. Presenting our work together for the first time, our paintings explore the potential for painting to envisage the changes we bear witness to in landscape today.
Marielle Hehir b. Manchester 1986

Marielle is currently undertaking a practice-led PhD at the University of Leeds with a full award from WRoCAH. Living on a narrowboat and working from her studio in East London, recent work and research is developed in response to the canal network as site. Viewed through the lens of the Anthropocene, the canal is a structure that demonstrates human intervention with the land and offers a portrait of an industrial past. An immersive experience of this site is channelled through the paintings, which engage with unusual materials and ways of making to explore an expanded notion of painting.

Recent exhibitions include Nightswimming 2018, Curated by LLE Gallery at Mission Gallery, Swansea; Squeeze, 2017, The Hive, London; Manchester Contemporary with LLE Gallery, 2016, Granada Studios, Manchester. In 2017 she was shortlisted for The John Ruskin Prize Exhibition, The Millenium Gallery, Sheffield and in 2016 she was shortlisted for Contemporary British Painting Prize Riverside Gallery, London.
Robert Mead b. Peterborough 1989

Robert is a current PhD researcher at the Slade School of Fine Art and based in Ealing, West London. Moving through the strata of his paintings digs up histories and ghosts that we may not wish to confront but are bound to our past. Robert uses the materiality of painting as an inquiry to uncover the residue of human impacts on our planet and each other. In particular he explores subjects of stray animals in post-human environments and relationships between harvesting minerals and pigments and their connections to layers of the earth, and the human histories entwined with these materials. He reveals these entanglements through the layers of his paintings and encourages the viewer to engage with these visual connections. The combination of imagery and material in his paintings reveal alternate ways of thinking about our relationship to both our past and future.

Recent exhibitions include the Colour/Collage/Poetry Symposium at UCL, 2021, Carpet Pages III: Pixels, 2020, and Paper Cuts at the Saatchi Gallery in 2018. He was awarded the Duveen travel scholarship in 2017 for research carried out in Italy and was made an Honorary Research Associate at UCL Art Museum in 2018. More recently he has received a research grant for fieldwork on the Norfolk coast and the 2021 Max Werner Drawing Prize.


9 September 2021

Fringe Open Autumn Programme

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