Preparing for What
“Preparing for What” is a group exhibition of new works on paper from six British painters born between 1981 and 1988. These artists form a loose, cable-knit klatch of friends, family, and peers at London art schools over the past fifteen years. The works on display describe the painter’s daily acts: experimentation; repetition; investigation; notation; practice.
At a small scale, Tom Anholt’s passion for decoration and the history of mark-making can be satisfied at a joyful, heightened tempo, to be resolved more deliberately, and with the whole body, later on. Nick Goss’ watercolours are a hotline to the subconscious, a library of moments articulated as quickly as they were glanced in daily life, perhaps to be rediscovered in his large, rich canvases. These works reveal artists who tend to dream and drift, constructing mountains of memories and living on them whenever they can.
Nicholas Hatfull’s iPad drawings, exhibited here for the first time, allow for his observations of the natural and constructed world to carry a synthetic, clinical tang that he may then pervert and restore in paint. Jack Burton’s works on paper express the intellectual’s first step from brain to page, a release of vulnerable, coded and esoteric thoughts about labour and consumption, put into visual form to see whether they translate and may speak to others. The mediated image and the filtered message prove in these artworks to be everyday phenomena and no big deal, the natural lens through which we now receive and communicate information.
Gabriella Boyd’s studies allow her to examine the emotional and psychological effect of gesture and line: the weight of a dying mark; the surrender to absorbency and spread; the fragility of an outline, which demarcates and contains while being infringed upon from both sides. Phil Goss’ portable paintings are an imperative to be with his subjects, to smell low tide or shuffle train tickets on a table op, to feel these moments and to let them dictate the conditions under which they’re captured. Presence is paramount in these works — discovering through doing.
The work on paper is the essential unit of painting, and this personal, often private output is an opportunity to see an artist prepare. Preparing for what, though? This exhibition dangles the question at the heart of a contemporary painting practice, a question with both pleasingly low and dizzyingly high stakes. One may wonder where these particular pieces of paper will lead, and one may participate in a generational reckoning about the type of paintings this group of young British artists should make in order to push the medium forward.
Gabriella Boyd (b. 1988, Glasgow) graduated from the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2017. In the past two years she has participated in group and solo exhibitions at Blain Southern, White Cube and the Whitechapel Gallery, London. This is her first exhibition at Josh Lilley.
Nick Goss (b. 1981, Bristol) graduated from the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2009. This exhibition runs concurrently with the solo exhibition “Morley’s Mirror” at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, accompanied by a Koenig Books monograph. Goss has presented four solo exhibitions at the gallery over the past ten years.
Jack Burton (b. 1988, Barry) graduated from the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2017. He presented the solo exhibition “Emotional Paintings about Economics” at Josh Lilley in September 2018.
Nicholas Hatfull (b. 1984, Tokyo) graduated from the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2011. He was the subject of a solo show at Josh Lilley in 2017, and the two-person exhibition “Through the Wall”, with Victor Willing, in 2015.
Phil Goss (b. 1983, Bristol) graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2013. In 2017 he collaborated with his brother, Nick, on a capsule collection of clothes and an accompanying exhibition for the British clothing brand Folk. Goss is the Director of The Centre for Recent Drawing in North London. This is his first exhibition at Josh Lilley.
Tom Anholt (b. 1987, London) graduated from the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, in 2010. This exhibition runs concurrently with the solo exhibition “Vom Leben” at Eigen + Art, Leipzig. Anholt presented his first solo show at Josh Lilley in 2018.