CHARLIE SMITH LONDON

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Emma Bennett, Sam Jackson, Florian Heinke, Concha Martinez Barreto, Alex Gene Morrison, Barry Thompson

Touring from London and Frankfurt, CHARLIE SMITH LONDON presents the first New York incarnation of ‘Black Paintings’ at VOLTA New York.

The ‘Black Paintings’ project is a combination of three notions. Firstly, it is a curatorial response to the work of contemporary artists that gallery director, artist and independent curator Zavier Ellis has seen in recent years. Identifying a zeitgeist, there are many significant young artists who choose to paint with a restricted palette, or indeed only black, as typified by German painter Florian Heinke. Emma Bennett investigates the black monochrome in combination with figurative elements; and Spanish artist Concha Martinez Barreto adopts monochromatic figuration to explore nostalgia and the uncanny.  

Secondly, the exhibition seeks to illustrate an inherent urge that many painters have: to master the black painting. On one hand it can be a liberation to eradicate choice, and on the other hand it is a test to limit the tools at one’s disposal. In combination, it is a seductive challenge to attempt to diffuse one’s intentions into a singular, albeit highly complex tone. Sam Jackson, Alex Gene Morrison and Barry Thompson do not paint only in monochrome but deploy black to illustrate its profound sensibility.

Finally, the presentation acts as a response to fundamental moments throughout the history of art. From Goya to Malevich to Reinhardt and Rauschenberg, significant artists have continued to investigate the insistence and resonance of the black painting, and inevitably the artists in ‘Black Paintings’ will convey reference points to that historical visual culture.

Emma Bennett
Sorrow sits here
2019, Oil on oak panel, 25 x 20 cm.
Florian Heinke
Dio e famiglia
2018, Oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm.
Sam Jackson
For the Guilty
2019, Oil, spray paint, marker, pencil on board, 32 x 22.5 cm.
Florian Heinke
Nach all den Jahren
2019, Oil on canvas, 80 x 60 cm.
Emma Bennett
All catches alight
2019, Oil on oak panel, 25 x 20 cm.
Sam Jackson
Love is Explained By My Own History
2019, Oil, marker, pencil, diamanté on board, 32 x 22.5 cm.
Concha Martinez Barreto
St_24
2019, Oil on linen, 40 x 50 cm.
Concha Martinez Barreto
St_23
2019, Oil on linen, 40 x 50 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison
Fight!
2019, Oil on canvas, 45 x 35 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison
Finish Hiim!
2019, Oil on canvas, 45 x 35 cm.
Barry Thompson
No one sings like you anymore
2019, Oil on panel, 11.5 x 18 cm (detail view)
Barry Thompson
WIth an ounce of pain I will a ton of rage just like suicide
2019, Oil on panel, 11.5 x 18 cm. (detail view)