Time & Location
About the Exhibition
"I believe the studio is a driving force in the creation of paintings. It is not merely a physical space acting as a backdrop, but a place that shapes the work. The presence of the artist’s studio in their work has a well-documented history, I am particularly drawn to photographs of Francis Bacon’s studio in West London. Bacon created an ocean of reference materials in which he worked: books piled on top of tins of paint, pages torn from magazines and newspapers, even copies of his own paintings ripped from books and painted over again.
William Kentridge describes his studio in Johannesburg in a not dissimilar manner; ‘[t]he studio as a brain,’ he writes, ‘the 17m walk in the studio like the 4cm circles of synapses’.
While I agree with Kentridge that the studio is a type of organ, I see it more as a stomach. A mechanism churning paint, canvas and paper, bloating and leaking oils and thinners. This fascination with the studio has influenced my own process: sifting through magazines and books has become more central, torn pages from magazines, stories from South Africa, screenshots from films, and self-portraits taken on a timer, all the while the sound of Woodstock Main Road filters in from outside. The minibus taxi Gaartjie’s (Callers) cry out locations to pedestrians while, the smell of last night's dinner from the kiosk below lingers in my chipboard floor. The south-easterly winds punish the battered rooftop, while trash is peeled away from its hiding spots in the streets only to become impaled on barbed wire fences. The chaos of the road outside echoes into the studio space. Boxes of reference images spill over while I scrounge through each one hoping to find the image I need, letting it slowly get covered by paint and turps and ultimately losing it again to the belly of the studio.
There is a franticness that inhabits the studio, a stifled whisper beneath the mess, and so as I paint, I piece together the narrative strewn from around my studio. Each painting adds to this ongoing story which changes from painting to painting, layer to layer, mark to mark. The place of creation is inherent in the work. Each final painting is made up of the hundreds of sounds, smells, references and layers - hidden beneath the final layer where I decided to stop."- Paul Wallington