Beyond Form: Kemal Seyhan | Selma Parlour | Albano Hernández

Bringing together the work of three generations of artists, Kemal Seyhan (b.1960), Selma Parlour (b.1976) and Albano Hernandez (b.1988), this exhibition forms a study in materiality, abstraction and surface.

Pi Artworks London is thrilled to present Beyond Form, a group pop-up exhibition featuring the work of Albano Hernandez, Selma Parlour and Kemal Seyhan, curated by Harper Doyle.

All three painters emphasise process and the facets of their canvases, drawing our attention to meticulous application of pigments and the building of new textures through their respective primary mediums: oils, graphite, and air-dry clay.

Where Seyhan builds upon his canvases, applying colour in layers over an extended period of time, Parlour works bands of colour into the surface of the linen itself, positioning it as a veil. Hernandez, in contrast, zooms in on the form of the brushstroke, interpreting it through air-dry clay which then ‘paints’ the canvas in a more sculptural format. Beyond Form therefore, seeks to spark conversation between these three very different approaches to the painterly surface, inviting viewers to consider a renewed approach to what ‘painting’ as a medium must be. 

Working between Istanbul and Vienna, Kemal Seyhan is a Turkish/Austrian artist who works within a deceptively restrictive range, only applying colour in layers horizontally or vertically to his canvases. The painterly surface is his primary language, and as a result, his large scale canvases become imbued with semi-sculptural properties and a sense of physicality, as one unpacks the layered pigments that form each work, likewise, the more recent Untitled graphite works on paper convey this sense of depth through their almost metallic surface. 

London-based Selma Parlour’s paintings, in contrast, are meticulously rendered through soft films of oil on linen to look as though they are drawn, dyed or printed. Rather than emphasis on the sculptural application and building of paint, her works reveal every step of the artist’s decision making through pencil-thin oil lines and delicately shaded pigments. A back-lit effect, almost reminiscent of a screen, is created in both her paintings and prints through this application of colour, which is particularly clear in the ostensibly-reflective shaded elements of her Upright Animal works, or the ‘glowing’ borders of her recent Salon series.

Countering this, Spanish artist Albano Hernandez developed his ‘meta-painting’ process over the last two years, focusing specifically on the ‘brushstroke,’ which he creates from air-dry clay and studio waste. He explores and challenges the potential of the medium itself, asking questions of commodification, consumption and the politics of art production, and his works encourage close inspection in order to question how matter is presented in the world, and how consumption processes infiltrate all aspects of our lives, including art-making.

All three artists, therefore, bring abstraction, manipulation of space, and an emphasis on surface itself to the forefront of their practices, creating a fresh conversation on our perception of what ‘painting’ must be, and inviting us to look beyond classic forms and figuration, to expressions of texture and pigment that are equally, if not more, powerful. 

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