PAINT: the seen, the unseen & the imagined
Contemporary European Painting

Saturday 2 February – Sunday 3 March 2019


“This is the elusive yet ineluctably vivid world of the imagination that each of these artists sets out to conjure. Their worlds feel in some ways as universal as myth: and yet myths as recast from a fundamentally idiosyncratic slant…”
Rachel Campbell Johnston, art critic for The Times

Join us for the preview of our new Paint exhibition on Friday 1 February.  Starting at 6pm with a Collector’s Tour hosted by head curator Catherine Milner and followed by our ever-popular 3×15 panel discussion with three artists from the show ‘What Stories Can Paintings Tell Us Today?’ chaired by Rachel Campbell Johnston, art critic for The Times. Stay around after for the preview party, both galleries and the bar will be open until 9:30pm. The evening will also feature the opening of our third exhibition devoted entirely to ceramics Material Earth: The Abstracted Vessel.

Messums Wiltshire is delighted to present Paint: The seen, the unseen and the imagined as the first exhibition of our 2019 programme. Featuring works by emerging and established artists, our showcase of contemporary European painting highlights a borderless narrative that explores figuration, spirituality, mystery, intuition and folklore.

Bringing together artists who were born in places as diverse as Israel, Canada, South Korea, Germany and the UK – but who all live and work in Western Europe – we look at painters that are on the same fundamental mission: using the base matter of their pigments it is their imaginative process that translates it in to the gold of artistic vision.

Ranging in age from the octogenarian Rose Wylie to 24-year old Raphael Barratt, a young painter who has recently emerged from the Royal Drawing School, we focus on Germany and female painters from the Malerinnen NetzWerk (MNW) based in Berlin and Leipzig. Not that gender has a defining role in our selection, moreover it is the artists’ shared use of intuition and a sense of mystery and spirituality as a driving force in their artistic creation, that binds them. 

Rosa_Loy_577 Helenes Kunststück 2014 40x30_DSC7116_2 (web)

Rosa Loy ‘Helenes Kunststück’

From Rosa Loy, whose paintings play with different levels of time and reality, generating versions of her self which are not limited to the biographical, to Chris Gilvan-Cartwright whose works are inspired by pietas and medieval religious paintings, each artist creates a world in which ancient narratives are re-imagined for the 21st Century.

Memory and landscape both play a role in these artists’ work, visible in both the paintings of Minyoung Choi, whose oils on linen and canvas express her own memories of camping in the forests around Seoul where she grew up, to Nancy Delouis whose nostalgic paintings conjure up the sun and brilliant colours of her French hometown of Limoges. René Gonzalez’s scenes are inspired by magical kingdoms, including that of the Fonthill Estate on which the Messums Wiltshire is situated, and remind us how pleasurable indulging the imagination can be in a science-driven society, whist Corinne von Lebusa’s richly chromatic watercolours reflect the longings, desires and imaginings of their subjects

Within the diverse artistic, historical, cultural, sociological and societal heritages of these artists, it is the imaginary that has become real, made alive by the physicality of the material they use.

Artists include:

Alex Tennigkeit, Bettina Sellman, Chris Gilvan-Cartwright, Corinne von Lebusa, Eva Schwab, Heike Kelter, Isabelle Dutoit, Jessie Makinson, Justine Otto, Minyoung Choi, Nancy Delouis, Raphael Barratt, Rene Gonzalez, Rosa Loy, Rose Wylie, Tuesday Riddell and Zohar Fraiman


Thanks to: Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig, Rose Wylie Studio, Rachel Campbell Johnston, Heike Kelter