11 - 20 February 2011
38b Peckham Rye, London

We invited artist and writer Michael Lawton to curate an exhibition of painting at 38b Peckham Rye. His chosen artists included Mark Crofton Bell, Anna Choi, Trevor Kiernander, Michelle McKeown and Ellen Stanford.

Michelle McKeown
Ellen Stanford

Michael's accompanying essay to the exhibition is below.

Michael Lawton

When I look at paintings it is only the unexpected or beautiful, (and maybe sexy, because I think that’s probably different from beautiful,) that stay with me after I’ve left them. The only ones that I want to return to; that inspire me to make work myself.

When I look at paintings I have no use for verisimilitude; I am not interested in seeing something painted in a focal clarity that even a camera struggles to give us. I am not really interested in psychological truth; not at the expense of surface.

Paintings can tell stories, reveal psychosis, capture sensation, evoke an atmosphere, but all of these endeavours should be abandoned if the painting demands it: If the painting could be taken somewhere more interesting.

Everything else is just a way in and therefore all subjects are equally valid; are just a platform upon which to tackle a question.

Perhaps these questions have always existed; (and that’s why we return to old paintings.) And when we are painting we are not looking for solutions, just hypotheses, and I want beautiful or interesting hypotheses.

When I am writing I am after the truth because I am referring to something else. When I make a painting I am making something new: A referent.

Good paintings are liars, are shifty, they are inscrutable, they hide things, but we don’t care, we want to be deceived.

A painting should be as accurate as a good story.

Sometimes a painting just ‘feels right’ but that isn’t the truth, just a very plausible lie.

I HAVE NO USE FOR THE TRUTH 2011: Michael Lawton and Anna Choi

Michael Lawton: Evening or Your Last Cigarette

Anna Choi: Golden Cardboard

Ellen Stanford: Portrait of the Artist with Head

Trevor Kiernander: Forgotten Landscape 1978

Mark Crofton Bell: Yellow Sea

Michelle McKeown: Calico