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The Hierarchy of Scale

Emma Bennett, Florian Heinke, Sam Jackson, Alex Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, John Stark, Barry Thompson

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON presents a seven-artist exhibition of drawing and painting by British and German artists, investigating the hierarchy of scale within their practice.

Emma Bennett, Florian Heinke, Alex Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, and John Stark are recognised for their ability to work between miniature and monumental. Presenting a pair of paintings by each artist at small and large scale, our audience will be invited to both differentiate and examine the correlation between the two modes within each artist’s practice.

Sam Jackson, on the other hand, has been known since his graduation from the Royal Academy Schools in 2007 for his continuously miniature paintings. Recently, however, Jackson has begun making larger paintings to great effect, highlighting that the evolution of one’s practice can be incremental but profound.

Likewise, Barry Thompson — who will be showing at Volta for the first time — is known predominantly for his miniature oil on panel paintings at just 11.5 x 18 cm, which will be presented alongside equally accomplished pencil drawings. Thompson’s extraordinary hyperreal landscapes illustrate just how devastatingly powerful small work can be.

In 2011 gallery director Zavier Ellis co-curated several international exhibitions with the legendary art critic Edward Lucie-Smith called ‘Polemically Small’. In the accompanying text Lucie-Smith wrote as follows:

‘Many of the great masterpieces of the past are disconcertingly small. Portraits by Van Eyck and Memling. Religious paintings by Antonello da Messina. Some, though not all, of Rembrandt’s self-portraits. Samuel Palmer’s landscapes of the Shoreham period. Even the Mona Lisa. They need to be looked at in a different way from wraparound art — slower, more contemplative — dare one say it? — more loving.’

Emma Bennett
Our weathering
2018, Oil on oak panel, 25 x 20 cm.
Florian Heinke
Love is a Dog from Hell
2018, Oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm.
Sam Jackson
My Name is Mystery
2018, Oil on board, 100 x 80 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison
Green Eye Red Tongues
2018, Oil on canvas, 214 x 163 cm.
Gavin Nolan
Animating Roles
2018, Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 cm.
John Stark
Eternity is Rot
2018, Oil on panel, 122 x 180 cm.
Barry Thompson
2016, Pencil on paper, 50 x 40 cm.
Barry Thompson
For the death of your heart, you were stone white, so delicate lost
2018, Oil on panel, 11.5 x 18 cm.