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Painters - London: A Group Show
Group Show

25 Jul - 19 Aug, 2023

Painters - London: A Group Show


When thinking of an exhibition theme for Half Gallery (NY), I knew I wanted to present something fresh to an NYC audience. I used to live in NYC for several years in my 20s - I had a gallery there at the time, and the city will forever be a special place to me.///

Having moved back to London in 2017, and having opened a space here, I have had the privilege of being able to present many great NYC-based (and more generally USA-based) artists’ very first London exhibitions, highlighting my links between both the USA and the UK. 

Now, for this Half Gallery show, I want to head in the opposite direction and highlight the works of several of the most interesting London-based painters, including: Richard Burton, Nada Elkalaawy, Minyoung Kim, Cara Nahaul, Sikelela Owen, Evie O’Connor, and Morteza Khakshoor. 

Richard Burton’s paintings provide a glimpse into a constructed imaginative world, with each work expanding this invented universe. Reshuffling the building blocks with each painting, Burton tempers a science-fiction mood with a sense of banality. Within the environments presented, he explores these themes in philosophical and playful ways that are often cut through with a dystopian alertness.

Born in Egypt and living in London, Nada Elkalaawy explores the possibilities of representation and how human perception distinguishes reality from apparition and all the stages in-between. Her paintings develop a visual language of doubling and mirroring, shaped by a compelling interplay between foreground and background, animation and rigidity, past and present, reality and fiction. 

One of Minyoung Kim’s greatest strengths lies in her ability to craft narratives – painting unique stories that unfold over time. In her paintings, Kim plays with a myriad of recurring emblems and motifs that explore the uncertainty of emotional experience and draw the viewer in to a world of playful possibility. 

Cara Nahaul’s works can be described as an in-between space that connects the homelands of her Chinese-Malaysian mother and Mauritian father. She uses the seascape as the device which anchors her own intermediary position as someone who is used to navigating the contradictions and joys that come with inheriting cultures from one’s parents. Nahaul’s paintings capture the physical sensation of being in the sea and offer a counterpart to this notion. 

Sikelela Owen’s paintings focus on moments of love and connectivity, where figures are made up of curved limbs, shoulders that heed, and outstretched arms that knowingly contour to the shape of a cohort. These bodies are never quite separate, rarely angular; they are people, personalities, and faces that seldom exist without the physical presence or memory of another. Owen takes these figures from family photographs and stills, merging them with art historical references from the past and present.

Evie O'Connor paints sumptuous scenes that explore affluent lifestyles. Illustrious and tempting - they also encourage important conversations surrounding class, privilege and excess in a time of extreme wealth inequality between the rich and the poor.

Morteza Khakshoor’s fragmented, figurative narratives reveal some hidden interior feelings within his subjects, some affectual underlayers. He poetically invents, adds on, transmutes, erases, and misaligns, all to prise something open about what it is to be human, fallible, and complex. They are scenes held together, in part, by Khashkoor’s archive of historical, and political references; from ancient Middle Eastern literature to pre- and post-revolutionary Iran, and in part by his unique ability to muster strangeness and originality in paint.

I hope you enjoy the show.

Taymour Grahne

Curator: Taymour Grahne