past exhibition | Strange Meeting | 26 June - 28 July 2014
Strange Meeting Strange Meeting features six painters and obliquely references the WW1 Wilfred Owen poem of the same name, with its dreamlike encounter of two dead soldiers from opposing sides, and its meditation on war, art and culture.

Oliver Bancroft's set-like paintings investigate the stories that perhaps leak out beneath the proscribed format of the renaissance altarpiece. These singular works, which simultaneously evoke early renaissance perspective and computer game environments, invite the viewer to become an imaginative participant.

Kiera Bennett's works are heavily laced with historical painting references - cubism, Cezanne, Boccioni, Carra, early Matisse - and demonstrate a belief in the continuing relevance and timelessness of painting. Their fractured and dynamic psychological space acts as a metaphor for the frustrations, optimisms and activity of the artist.
Christopher Davies's loose figurative works speak of his rural Welsh origins and, perhaps, of a separation from the values of the contemporary art world. White Horse Surfer is based on a photograph of the artist's grandmother as a child, when she stood on the back of a horse on Bryn Arw, a hill where the artist's studio is now based: the photograph is recreated as if bathed in moonlight.

Polish-born Bartosz Kolata's ambiguous pseudo-documentary compositions suggest the violence and inequality embedded within social structures, particularly in the Catholic Ireland where he has made his home. Sister Xaviera is a portrait of Maura Lally, Mother Superior at the Sisters of Mercy Goldenbridge School in Dublin, which closed in 1983, having been the site of numerous physical, emotional and sexual abuses over many years. Sister Xaviera was described as a monster by her former pupils, and died recently, aged 87.
Eleanor Moreton mixes references to Englishness, history, psychoanalysis, European culture, the feminine and classical literature. Woose at Embrook refers to the lonely mythological hybrid beast which represents the classical idea of love between the spiritual and the physical. Garland Dance and Men of Cornwall respond to early 20th century photographs of popular folk events, with their constructions of the urban and rural poor as either genteel and folkish, or more threatening and subversive.

Raf Zawistowski's subjects are typically taken from Catholic iconography. The paintings hover between the visual kitsch of the religious subject and the immediacy of their sculptural surfaces, made from hot wax and oil paint to create a thick and nubbled surface. His bold graduation series of 'Popes' paintings was bought by Charles Saatchi in 2011.