‘She Spills Breath Spells’ 

6 – 30 July

A pairing of two painters who though their scale and subject matter seem entirely at odds, have a profound admiration for each other’s work.

Seen singly, each’s work could evoke its own particular set of references: for Utley, a low-key Virginia Woolf, or Katherine Mansfield perhaps, conversations in an undertone, a subtle examination of the recesses of the heart. For Price, nothing novelistic at all, rather a continuation of the Turner project: paint and more paint, expanses of colour covering an area large enough once for a scene of battle, or a Claudian vision of a mythological virgin being expelled into a sunset’s mega-glow.

But together, it’s theatre that joins them; joining them however across the widest divide imaginable. What connects them is the way that they are to be received, the precise way each painter has of compelling our engagement as spectator. Utley’s work we study from outside, Price’s we are immersed in. An Ibsenesque problem drama vs full on Sturm und Drang.

Both hold the role of director up to question; Utley as she sets up the actors, establishes the mise en scene, watches from the wings as they wait for the curtain up – upon a new ‘off-stage’ which exists behind the first curtain rather than the fourth wall – time being the dimension that separates us from the play; while Price subsumes that role, performing as actor/director, her set, the canvas, is the literal arena for action.

Before and after the event – in Price’s work the painting is the event, the canvas is the stage; in Utley the figures pace or stand, the act is over or waiting to begin. Indeed the difference between ‘figurative’ and ‘abstract’ work is analagous here to the shift from a procenium stage to theatre in the round. The stage is set. Light the lights.

There will also be an essy on Price and Utley’s work by writer/curator Cairo Clarke, who will be leading a discussion on Sunday 30th July at 3.00 pm