Oil on tapestry
23 x 17.7 inches
60 x 45 cm
Tender 2 The Sunshine Room
OHWOW Gallery is pleased to announce Charlie Billingham’s exhibition Tender 2 The Sunshine Room. This exhibition realizes an expanded presentation of his recent series of small-scale paintings and sculptural pieces, both inspired by silhouettes of boats, as well as several new, large canvases, which depict glass houses. The boat paintings hang on top of grid-patterned backdrops, which Billingham executes directly onto the gallery’s walls. These wall paintings create a visual network that serves to arrange his intimate pieces within a greater context – a relative place for them to exist.
Technically, as a painter, Billingham’s practice focuses on pigment, texture, and surface; he uses acrylic, oil, or both, applying the paint to polyester, linen, tapestry, canvas, or wood panel, depending on his desired outcome. Beyond his broad understanding of the medium, his gestures and compositions demonstrate how painting possesses the ability to be completely subjective. Accordingly, Billingham looks to personal and shared experiences as a source for his topics and imagery. His series of approximately 30 small-scale paintings are abstracted seascapes, depicting two boats floating at sea, inspired by summer holidays by the ocean. The boats’ proximity to each other, as well as the negative space surrounding them, opens a psychological dialogue – symmetry can read as balance, but it can also create tension.
With four large paintings, the artist delicately images glass conservatories, each titled The Sunshine Room. These works are more objective representations than the boat paintings, however, the tangible subject still invites an emotional discourse – these structures appear sheltering and alienating, simultaneously. In addition to the two-dimensional work, Billingham includes three sculptural pieces in the exhibition that mimic the contour of a specific sailing dinghy. Built from Zebrano and plywood with chrome fixtures, these constructions also act as a framework as each contains a pair of paintings. The boat sculptures sit on top of large, woven tapestries – the pattern based off a watercolor that the artist painted after one summer trip; ultimately, the tapestry elements symbolize the inception of this entire body of work, now presented in Tender 2 The Sunshine Room.
Charlie Billingham (b.1984, London, UK) completed his joint honors MA at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art in 2008, and recently received a postgraduate degree from the Royal Academy Schools in London. His work was included in several group exhibitions, such as: Febreze (2013) at Kinman Gallery, London, UK; New Order: British Art Today (2013) at Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Clay Pipe (2013) at Galerie HFBK, Hamburg, Germany; Open Heart Surgery (2013) at The Moving Museum, London, UK; and Bloody English (2014) at OHWOW Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Tender 2 The Sunshine Room is Billingham’s first solo exhibition at OHWOW Gallery.