A portrait of Hazel Brill in her studio surrounded by various laser cut steel sheets

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Now representing Hazel Brill

Workplace is pleased to announce the representation of British artist Hazel Brill.

Brill works across film, sound, animation, text, sculpture, and installation, conjuring a shiny utopian future which has turned messy and grotesque. Inspired by intricate set designs and depictions of laboratories from horror films, the artist is interested in gothic horror fiction as a device to deal with fears around transformative technologies, where the lines between the living and the non-living are blurred, posing an existential threat.

Brill's research spans multiple subjects, stretching from 17th century machines for spiritual experiences, and early forms of coding, to contemporary practices within pharmaceutical industries.

A large 24 panel painting by Laura Lancaster featuring frames from film stills

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Laura Lancaster 'My Echo, My Shadow' at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

My Echo, My Shadow is the largest solo show to date of British painter Laura Lancaster. Presenting new paintings made over the last few years My Echo, My Shadow delves into the current practice of one of the North East’s most celebrated and accomplished painters.

The source of Lancaster’s paintings are found photographs, slides and cine films of strangers, purchased from online auction sites, flea markets and junk shops. She translates the lost and discarded memories into paintings which sit ambiguously between abstraction and figuration. The highly gestural, visceral and expressive application of paint allows the everyday and mundane to become surreal, grotesque and poignantly melancholic. Challenging the formal language of painting and photography Lancaster probes the reliability of the photograph as a record or snapshot replacing representation with nostalgia, familiar with dreamlike and lived experience with collective consciousness.

Confronting a gendered history of painting, Lancaster draws upon numerous styles and genres as well as touching on the history of painting as a medium. The artist paints women in classical poses, be it by water, in lush green landscapes or in moments of rest. However, these motifs, reimagined by Lancaster, avoid a simple passive reading, instead they allude to confinement, vulnerability and control. Guided in the direction of abstraction the paintings refrain from the voyeurism and beauty standards historically associated with female figures within the conventions of traditional painting.

An installation view of a work by Jacob Dahlgren and a plinth with modernist style chairs

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Jacob Dahlgren: Yrjö Kukkapuro – Magic Room

Jacob Dahlgren is included in Yrjö Kukkapuro – Magic Room at EMMA, Finland. The exhibition highlights parallels between Kukkapuro’s designs and modern and postmodern art.

EMMA is proud to present the colourful, imaginative and experimental oeuvre of an influential pioneer of Finnish design, Yrjö Kukkapuro (b. 1933). Yrjö Kukkapuro – Magic Room is an exhibition marking the occasion of the designer’s 90th birthday, presenting his iconic designs alongside his greatest long-term source of inspiration – art. 

Magic Room highlights parallels between Kukkapuro’s designs and modern and postmodern art. The designer's most enduring source of inspiration was his spouse, the printmaker Irmeli Kukkapuro (1934–2022). The exhibition architecture is based on the Magic Room concept developed by Kukkapuro in the 1980s, which displays furniture in the form of an installation using various structures and lighting effects. 

Alongside Yrjö Kukkapuro’s designs, Magic Room also features works by his contemporaries and present-day artists: Timo Aalto, Jacob Dahlgren, Beryl Furman, Esa Laurema, Vladimir Kopteff, Kristian Krokfors, Irmeli Kukkapuro, Matti Kujasalo,Jussi Niva, Lars-Gunnar Nordström, Kristiina Nyrhinen, Tarja Pitkänen- Walter, Airi Snellman-Hänninen, Mari Sunna and Osmo Valtonen.

EMMA website

Oil painting by Rachel Lancaster. Depicts part of a white duvet resting on a carpet floor.

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Rachel Lancaster, Witness, 2023 | The Government Art Collection

Rachel Lancaster's painting Witness, 2023has been acquired by The Government Art Collection. The work will join the permanent collection alongside artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Rachel Whiteread and Chantal Joffe.

Portrait of Miles Thurlow and Paul Moss in Gateshead, U.K

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Workplace featured on Artsy

by Maxwell Rabb

In 2005, Miles Thurlow and Paul Moss opened Workplace’s first physical gallery for the cost of just £1 a year. After three years of working together on an artist-led curatorial project, they struck a deal for a small space in the Gateshead Indoor Market in North East England. This unconventional setup came with a community-centered exchange: In return for the affordable space, they would judge the market’s annual Christmas card competition, involving artwork from children of surrounding schools. This approach not only secured the duo a physical space, but also embedded the gallery within its local environment. Thurlow and Moss envisioned Workplace as a space to counteract the mainstream art world’s tendency to focus exclusively on established artists.

“There was a sense that we were outside of the center and that the activity that was going on in the museums and galleries around us at the time was all about showing artists that were already well known, already validated, nearly always based in London.…But if you were living and working as an artist outside of the center, you’d somehow be excluded,” Thurlow told Artsy. Even as Workplace has grown into a larger commercial gallery, with two spaces in London and Newcastle, this DIY spirit continues to form its approach. “There was always this DIY attitude that we had—if you’re not in the center, you’ve got to make it around you wherever you are, and we’ve carried that with us,” he added.

An early, formative experience for the gallerists came with Thurlow’s first experience at an art fair, the London Art Fair in 2003, before they opened their physical gallery space. Then, Thurlow and Moss approached Paul Hedge, the co-founder of London’s Hales Gallery—who was on the selection committee at the time—with printouts of their friends’ and peers’ artwork. They managed to secure a spot in the fair.

“We were very nervous about being dismissed as parochial or provincial, yet we realized that the booth of an art fair can be a great leveler,” Thurlow said. “We very quickly placed work with significant national public collections and major corporate collections, who all bought works from us. It was a real ‘lights-on’ moment where suddenly these artists, who were completely unknown even within their own city, were now in these really important international collections….It was a real awakening to the power of the art market and the way in which it can validate an artist’s practice.”

Workplace’s artist-first approach is epitomized through its long-standing relationship with the British painter Laura Lancaster. The partnership began with an exhibition in 2005, which inaugurated the gallery’s Gateshead space and sparked its working relationship with the artist. The connection has become a template for Workplace’s programming, in which collaborations are viewed with long-term ambition in mind.

“With all of the artists that we work with, we aim to dig down into what it is that makes them a success,” Thurlow said. “How do we place this artist’s work in an institutional context? How can we build their careers? How can we develop partnerships internationally for the artist? The origins of the gallery are very artist-centered. I was an artist, Paul was an artist….There’s an intuitive understanding of what it is to be an artist and what you need, and that’s not just financial, and it’s not just glitz and glamor. There’s a critical economy that surrounds your practice, and you need to develop strong roots in your practice. The resilience of the artist’s practice is as important to us as the resilience of the gallery—in many ways, it is the same thing.”

By 2013, Thurlow and Moss had introduced a London space, establishing a network between the North Eastern art scene and the U.K. capital. The two ran the galleries together, cultivating a dynamic roster of artists such as interdisciplinary artist Marcus Coates and British photographer Matt Stokes until Moss passed away in 2019. Faced with tragedy, Thurlow had to reapproach the gallery and, in 2020, permanently relocated the Gateshead flagship to London. Then, the gallery moved to its current space on Mortimer Street in Fitzrovia, London. In 2023, Thurlow returned to the North East to open a second gallery in Newcastle, and today, Thurlow looks ahead with a community-based lens.

Today, Workplace has evolved into an internationally known gallery, participating in Art Cologne, Art Basel Hong Kong, and Art SG, among other fairs. But as the gallery grew, Thurlow and Moss never left their DIY roots behind. The gallerists launched Workplace Foundation in 2017 to focus on uplifting artists outside of the mainstream gallery scenes. In Thurlow’s words, “If you’re outside of London, access to the art world is limited,” and therefore, the foundation bridges “emergent grassroots artists into the more institutional position.”

Above all, the initiative is a project devoted to nurturing an artist’s practice. On multiple accounts, artists from the project, such as Simeon Barclay, have worked with Workplace to put on shows. Meanwhile, the project also supports art practices from various mediums. For instance, painter Rachel Lancaster first worked with the foundation as a musician.

Beyond fostering local talent and working with the U.K.’s art communities, Workplace has extended its community-building ethos globally. The gallery works with Philadelphia-based painter Olivia Jia, who first showed at the gallery last year with “Ex Libris,” and it recently hosted an online exhibition with Chicago-born artist Cathleen Clarke. Both Clarke and Jia show with New York’s Margot Samel, underscoring the constructive relationship between the galleries cultivated through these artists. For Thurlow, these cross-gallery relationships are essential not only for the gallery itself but also for the artists.

Workplace’s evolution illustrates a journey marked by risk, innovation, and resilience. But more than anything, the gallery has championed the importance of community building and artist support. Thurlow likens it to a “tightrope walk across a ravine with crocodiles underneath, and you’re juggling at the same time.”

“There are moments of real fear but also moments of great success,” he said.

Read Article on Artsy

Rachel Lancaster Lost In Another's Dream, 2023

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5 Artists on our Radar 2024 - Rachel Lancaster

“Artists on Our Radar” is a monthly series focused on five artists who have our attention. Utilizing our art expertise and Artsy data, we’ve determined which artists made an impact this past month through new gallery representation, exhibitions, auctions, art fairs, or fresh works on Artsy.

Rachel Lancaster’s paintings capture the elusive and often overlooked moments of everyday life. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for the mundane, Lancaster elevates ordinary scenes into enticing, memory-like narratives. Her approach involves extracting and reinterpreting “stills” from various moving images and personal photos. These fragments range from domestic interiors to close-ups of inanimate objects and people—rendered with an ethereal soft focus.

Her technique involves meticulously layering thin glazes of oil paint to create textures that converge, resulting in blurred edges. This pull of the figurative toward the abstract is a hallmark of her work, exemplified by her first solo exhibition at WORKPLACE, “In The Wake,” which is on view in Newcastle until January 24th. The artist also made an impression as part of WORKPLACE’s group presentation at NADA in Miami last month.

Lancaster earned her MFA in fine art at Newcastle University in 2011. Since then, she has exhibited in group shows hosted at WORKPLACE, which represents her, as well as Elysium Gallery and Newcastle Contemporary Art.

A black and white portrait photo of Simeon Barclay by Ajamu X

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Simeon Barclay announced as the second artist in Roberts Institute of Art 'Practising Performance' programme

We are excited to announce the second artist in RIA’s commissioning programme, Practising Performance. Simeon Barclay’s practice often takes the form of sculptures or installations rooted in a strong relationship with material histories. Barclay has an intense interest in the body and the self, investigating how self-image is created and grappled with. Fashion, dance, the theatrical, posing and adornments are intricately woven throughout his work and will inform the research and development of a new performance work.

Practising Performance aims to support artists who would like to engage with live performance. Each commission presents the opportunity for an artist who has not worked with performance to develop a work from scratch without having to think about a fixed format or venue.

Video:

Eric Bainbridge on PLUCKPLUCK

Eric Bainbridge discusses the ideas behind two new distinct bodies of sculpture that examine taste, nostalgia and cliché. Filmed on the occasion of his solo exhibition PLUCKPLUCK at Workplace | London in March 2023.

Video:

Max Boyla: Crying Like a Fire in the Sun

Video documentation of Max Boyla's exhibition 'Crying Like a Fire in the Sun' at Workplace | London

Laura Lancaster discusses her new body of work for her solo institutional exhibition My Echo, My Shadow at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. Filmed in her studio in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Laura Lancaster on 'My Echo, My Shadow' at NGCA

Laura Lancaster discusses her new body of work for her solo institutional exhibition My Echo, My Shadow at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. Filmed in her studio in Newcastle upon Tyne.

My Echo, My Shadow is the largest solo show to date of British painter Laura Lancaster. Presenting new paintings made over the last few years My Echo, My Shadow delves into the current practice of one of the North East’s most celebrated and accomplished painters.

My Echo, My Shadow

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

Sunderland, UK

16 March – 30 June 2024

a video still of the exterior of Workplace London, a pedestrian walks past the window

Video:

and in and out of weeks

Documentation of and in and out of weeks at Workplace | London

Videographer: Tom Carter

Workplace is delighted to present and in and out of weeks, a group exhibition of work by three artists: James Cabaniuk, b chehayeb and Rafael Pérez Evans, who each explore their relationship to place, time, memory, intersectionality, trauma, and escape through processes of introspection and investigation. 

 

In Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story Where the Wild Things Are, the protagonist Max is banished to his bedroom by his parent where, in his confinement, he enters the temporal and spatially dissonant world of his imagination, voyaging ‘in and out of weeks’ to reach a fantastical island of cannibalistic monsters that threaten to devour him. Upon conquering them, he commands them to engage in a tumultuous ‘wild rumpus’ before he returns home for his dinner. Steeped in psychoanalytic theory Sendak’s story is an allegory of the human capacity to confront and navigate trauma and intense emotional responses to the world, and how they may be processed and overcome through world-building, psychological fantasy, and imaginative journeying. The artists in the exhibition each purposefully traverse problematic complexities of the external world and their relationship to it, responding through delving into atemporal, fantastical or visionary worlds.

 

James Cabaniuk employs abstraction and strategies of queer opacity to construct thickly layered large scale abstract oil paintings. Seeking to liberate personal trauma from shame, and exploring queer identity and history, the authoritative singularity and machismo of 20th Century Abstract Expressionist painting becomes a world wherein Cabaniuk navigates their own complex relationship to the power it embodies - simultaneously fetishising and critiquing it. Materiality and performativity are held in tension by Cabaniuk and materials such as confetti, glitter, and soil serve as tools of celebration, resilience, and connection. Through gestural spontaneity the paintings become energetic sites that embody concepts of fun, camp, sexuality, gender, self-destruction, healing, and community to challenge and embrace boundaries. 

 

b chehayeb‘s paintings transcribe memories and sensory experiences into gesture, colour and texture. Using oil paint and oil stick on board and canvas, chehayeb records stories, as they exist in her memory, into largely abstracted visual language, punctuated by more direct iconography, where each painting represents a moment, or a feeling from the artist’s life. Employing the perspective of her own history and bi-cultural background – having grown up Mexican American in suburban Texas, she is focused on the reconstruction of failed memories, specifically memories warped by nostalgia, gender and cultural hybridity. chehayeb incorporates stories, cultural references, and traumas into her work, always alternating between representation and abstraction. 

 

Witnessing the demonstrations of Spanish farmers as a child, Rafael Pérez Evans saw vast quantities of lemons dumped in protest against a market devaluation in the 1990’s that made them more expensive to pick than sell. Drawing upon legacies of 1960s sculpture, Land Art and acts of social protest, the artist looks at agriculture and the post-industrial city as a ‘deranged metabolic system’ and considers how historical processes of illusion continue to be present in consumer culture, where infinitely recurring sequences of class struggle, aspiration and power continue to haunt the present. In the sculptural works exhibited at Workplace, optical illusions are created by propping mirrors open with live root vegetables such as yams. Pérez Evans creates fantastical visions of produce, magically suspended in mid-air, floating as strange, bodily, wheel-like forms. Packing material, transportation trolleys and other shipping debris are left conspicuous in the work, giving visibility to the evidence of human labour present in chains of production, usually cleverly hidden.

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Robin Megannity on Call of the Void

Robin Megannity discusses the ideas behind the works in his solo exhibition Call of the Void at Workplace | London.

Call of the Void explores Megannity’s endeavour to hold paradoxical or contrary sentiments within his painting that connect the ubiquitous with the sublime. Historical techniques and traditions of painting are appropriated and quoted in his work, and the pathos, melancholy and solemnity of Northern European still life paintings are interrupted by references to digital image making. Glitches and ruptures in the framing of his images connect the temporality of the historical source imagery with commonplace contemporary means of media manipulation.

Video:

Eric Bainbridge on PLUCKPLUCK

Eric Bainbridge discusses the ideas behind two new distinct bodies of sculpture that examine taste, nostalgia and cliché. Filmed on the occasion of his solo exhibition PLUCKPLUCK at Workplace | London in March 2023.

Video:

Max Boyla: Crying Like a Fire in the Sun

Video documentation of Max Boyla's exhibition 'Crying Like a Fire in the Sun' at Workplace | London