transforming surfaces


Peter Joseph  |  G R Thomson  |  Richard Bell

David Saunders  |  Patrick Morrissey  |  Hanz Hancock

June 2018

Let the groundbreaking French scientist Antoine Lavoisier, writing in 1789, have the first word.


[In the operations of art, no less than nature] … ‘nothing is created, nothing lost, all is transformed’.


‘Transforming Surfaces’ emerges out of a sequence of group and solo exhibitions initiated and staged under the umbrella ‘Eye and Mind’ by the artist-founded and run Mercus Barn project. Since its inception in 2014, the latter’s interventions have been documented by Saturation Point, the online curatorial and editorial project, similarly founded and run by artists.


Meditating, in his final essay, on Cézanne’s work as rendering the ineffability of sensation tangible, in, by, through the practice of painting, the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote: ‘Quality, light, colour, depth, which are there before us, are only there because they awaken an echo in our bodies and because the body welcomes them.’ (Eye and Mind, 1964)


None of the above amounts to a prescriptive programme. Despite the classification, this group exhibition is not the exhibition of a group. That noted, it is evident that the authors of the visual and plastic works assembled here, under one roof, share a certain penchant for the arts of radical abstraction.


The latter’s liberation of lines, planes, forms, tones, colours, from the constraining prism of illusory representational systems, opens the eye and mind to practise ways of seeing, reading, thinking, interpreting otherwise.


This opening not only establishes the ineluctable condition of possibility for the respondent’s apprehension of the elements in question but, perhaps more crucially, also foregrounds the ineffable spatial and temporal orders obtaining within and between.


The participating artists, March 2018




L’Oeil et L’Esprit, par Maurice Merleau-Ponty: écrit en 1961 et inclus dans la collection, ‘Vers une Nouvelle Ontologie’, Gallimard, 1964. Translated into English as, Eye and Mind, included in The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader, ed. Galen A Johnson, trans. Michael B Smith, North Western University Press, 1993

Traité Élémentaire de Chimie, Antoine Lavoisier, Cuchet, Paris, 1789 (Translated into English as Elements of Chemistry in a New Systematic Order, Robert Kerr, 1790)

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