Free to Contemporary Art Society Members
Prizewinner in the 2012 John Moores Painting Prize, Newcastle-based artist Narbi Price is a painter engaged in pushing the expectations of figurative and in particular photographically-derived painting. He does this in terms of paint application, finish and composition and in blurring the line between figuration and formal abstraction.
His subject matter – de-peopled corners of the urban world – might be considered mundane and banal’ but as writer Nev Clay suggests, in his 2009 catalogue essay, ‘Narbi’s quiet studies aren’t social commentary, pop celebration or living-room bathos. For me, in their carefully crafted blandness, they signify the presence of a willingness to let the world speak for itself. The absence of human subjects and deliberate lack of narrative place the viewer in a unique but uniquely familiar position – alone with the world as it is. The neutral object steers us between the twin magnets of attraction and aversion, and confronts us with something more challenging perhaps – the ambiguity of the everyday, the places we inhabit while nothing’s happening.’
In his recent paintings and lithographs, seemingly innocuous scenes are in fact loaded with meaning, being the locations of the Whitechapel Murders of 1888. There is no immediate indication to the viewer of the depicted site’s histories. The only acknowledgement is that the work’s titles are suffixed with the victim’s initials in brackets – it is therefore possible to decode the provenance of the site. The viewer’s experience and reading of the work changes irrevocably with knowledge of the history of the depicted site. By withholding or encoding the historical significances such sites, Price wishes to question how the formal selection of the imagery and the painting process itself can evoke a mood and suggest an autonomous authority and to explore the relationship between a site and its representation.
Join us for this chance to meet the artist in his studio and hear about his current work and upcoming projects.
Background information on the artist:
Born 1979 in Hartlepool, Narbi Price attended Northumbria University 1999- 2002, Newcastle University 2008-10 (MFA).
Group exhibitions include PRINT, Mushroom Works, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2009, John Moores Painting Prize 2010, 9 ACA Dovetail Newcastle 2011, Nothing, Like Something, Happens Anywhere – New Work by Narbi Price and Neil Cammock, Moving Gallery Newcastle 2011, Hole Editions – Ink On Paper, Durham Art Gallery and DLI Museum 2011, two-person show with Marc Bijl GalleriaSIX at Arte Fiera Bologna 2012, Omnia Mea Mecum Porto – Works on Paper Kotti-Shop Berlin 2012 and Luminous Language at Launch F18, New York, March 2013. His site-specific solo show Narbi Price was at GalleriaSIX Milan 2011.
Main image: Narbi Price, Untitled Kerbstone Painting (MJK) (detail), 2012, acrylic on canvas, 92 x 122 cm. Courtesy the artist