Aesthetica Art Prize Finalist Deb Covell: Real Painting, Castlefield Gallery

Aesthetica Art Prize Finalist Deb Covell: Real Painting, Castlefield Gallery

Since being selected for the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition in 2014, finalist Deb Covell exhibited at mima and has now co-curated the upcoming show at Manchester’s Castlefield Gallery, Real Painting.

Covell (MA Fine Art UEL, London) lives in Saltburn, Teesside. Her practice is concerned with bringing a form into being by exploring the material and physical qualities of acrylic paint. Her mission is to reduce everything in her paintings to a Zero state, free from mimicry and illusion and making the traditional support of a canvas redundant in the pursuit to create without limitation.

Covell builds up dense layers of acrylic paint onto stretched plastic sheets which are peeled off and brought into the sculptural realm through a process of folding, creasing, cutting and collapsing until a new form emerges.

Real Painting is an exhibition of new and existing work by ten artists working nationally and internationally including 2010 Turner Prize nominee Angela de la Cruz and 2004 John Moores Painting Prize winner’s Alexis Harding. Curated by Covell and Jo McGonigal the exhibition emphasises the essential grammar of painting, considering not necessarily what a painting means but what it ‘does’.

Covell’s work features in the exhibition and is linked to the other artists’ pieces by a shared purposeful interest in the material components of painting, and its ability to assume its own presence, rather than being symbolic of something else. Slipping between painting and object, the visual and physical, the work in the exhibition highlights the expressive capacity of the materials and processes specific to painting to be sites of investigation in their own right.

Accompanying the exhibition is a talk by Craig Staff, author of After Modernist Painting: The History of a Contemporary (2013).

The Aesthetica Art Prize is currently open for entries. Prizes include £5,000 courtesy of Hiscox, group exhibition in partnership with York Museums Trust and editorial coverage in Aesthetica magazine. Entries close 31 August 2015:

Real Painting, until 2 August, Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester, M15 4GB. For more information visit

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1. Deb Covell, From Nowt to Summat. Courtesy of the artist and mima.