Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present U include the, wall between and you, a show of new paintings by Alex Clarke and Ellen Macdonald based on friendship. Friendship here is a proposition for the relationships between people, between practices and between paintings.
Taking as a starting point an understanding of painting as a manifestation and even an embodiment of thought, the spaces between paintings enable exchange and dialogue. These spaces can dissolve oppositions and categorisations, and extend an interior conversation to become exterior. Sometimes the gaps become material from which the paintings are made. It is in these gaps where thoughts bump into each other, and relationships between paintings and people (both within and across practices) are formed. These relationships are what constitute a friendship in painting.
Alex Clarke and Ellen Macdonald work in close proximity, having studied together at the Royal Academy Schools, London. In 2012 they took part in a month-long residency in Sparkill, New York. Alex Clarke creates variant groups of paintings which, through a process of continuous drawing, making, editing and re-arranging, build a social dynamic of relationships, support networks, dialogues, ideas and counter-ideas from painting to painting. The ideas in question that arise across a group have the very notion, hope and aspirations of making a painting at all acting as an anchor to the whole discussion. Hope or aspiration are formally represented here by the use of the color blue, extending from Clarke's previous blue monochrome paintings, which are made using the same Linel cobalt blue gouache that Matisse used for his cut-outs.
Ellen Macdonald's work focuses on the process of mediation that occurs in painting, to examine the relationship between objects and actions, and how this relationship intersects with representation. Her work addresses the potential specific to painting to move between being, doing and the moment in which materiality renders these processes visible. She treats paintings as images that are also documents, since they simultaneously represent and also act as evidence of the activity of their own recording.
Ellen Macdonald received a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools in 2014 and BA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2007. Her work has been exhibited at Salt + Powell, York (2014); The Royal Academy of Arts, London (2014); Jerwood Space, London (2010); Cole, London (2010); The Forgotten Bar, Berlin (2010); Sadlers Wells, London (2009) and Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Liverpool and London (2008). She is included in the Catlin Art Guide 2015 and is a current recipient of the Land Securities Studio Residency at Bow Arts, London. She lives and works in London.
Alex Clarke received a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools in 2014 and BA from Central Saint Martins in 2010. His work has been exhibited at Art Rotterdam (2015); Super Dakota, Brussels (2014); Evelyn Yard, London (2014); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2014); Ronchini Gallery, London (2014); Johannes Vogt, NY (2014); Gowlett Peaks, London, (2014). In 2014 he received an Agnes Ethel Macay travel award and in 2013 he was the winner of the Jerwood Purchase Prize. He lives and works in London.