Painting and drawing have provided the foundations for contemporary art. But how are they changing in an age of mass media and post-truth? Five artists from the Aesthetica Art Prize demonstrate new approaches to a time-honoured medium, asking questions about our changing world.
Daniel Mullen was part of the Aesthetica Art Prize shortlist in 2019. He uses painting as a means to figuratively communicate abstract concepts. The above series was created in collaboration with Lucy Cordes Engelman, depicting a form of synaesthesia through spatial representation. Every number from 0 to 9 equals a specific colour.
Khushna combines traditional and digital approaches by painting from photographic sources rather than live subjects. Drawing on the influence of the Baroque as well as contemporary figures such as Gregory Crewdson, Khushna believes that re-realising an already photographed moment leads to the most intense, distilled vision possible of the experience.
Christopher Stott produces clean representational oil paintings that transform vintage objects into icons. The artist depicts a variety of antique items including appliances, books, clocks and typewriters, amongst other common instruments. As subjects, they have a built-in narrative – they tell stories. Turning them into paintings asks the viewer to slow down.
Imagined Nebula demonstrates the inability to accurately describe the vastness of something. Creating nebuli through painting, Loz Atkinson use different textures, giving them no definitive edge that can be perfectly measured. These compositions show that however much we may think we know, we’re always a step away from absolute truth.
Exploring our relationships with technology, Peter Davis poses questions about the digital epoch we inhabit and the status of the human being in society today. Cardboard Reality 1 explores the emergence of Virtual Reality and the relationship it bears to actual reality, suggesting a sense of divorce from the real world.
Lead Image: Christopher Stott, Ten Vintage Cameras, Oil on canvas.
1. Daniel Mullen, 37-67, 2019.
2. Daniel Mullen, 16th-17th Century, 2018.
3. Khushna, Society, 2016. Acrylic and oil on canvas. 223cm x 167cm.
4. Christopher Stott, Ampro Precision Projector. Oil on canvas, 30in x 36in. Courtesy of the artist
5. Christopher Stott, History of the World, 2015
6. Loz Atkinson, Imagined Nebula. Courtesy of the artist.
7. Peter Davis, Lucky for you that’s what I like
8. Peter Davis, Cardboard Reality 1, 2017. From the series Zeitgeist. A study of humanity and our relationship with technology. 61cm x 51cm.