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Continuing its tradition of presenting curated group booths at Volta Basel, CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present ‘Thresholds’. ‘Thresholds’ will explore psychological, bodily and metaphysical boundaries — a site where a thing or person or state transitions to another. 

Emma Bennett and Hugh Mendes focus their practice on death by adopting the tradition of memento mori. Bennett interweaves appropriated Old Master elements with contemporary photographic imagery and abstraction. Mendes adopts the structure of newspaper obituaries, focusing most recently on obituary paintings of artists derived from self-portraits.    

Dominic Shepherd situates his figures and landscapes within or beyond a veil, most recently employing water as a signifier for surface, depth and change of state. Water is also, of course, symbolic of the unconscious. Tom Butler also investigates the unconscious. Known for his continuous series of adapted cabinet cards, where the sitter is adorned or overcome by patterns or matter, Butler’s work could be considered as depictions of the Id overwhelming the ego. 

Florian Heinke makes monochromatic paintings that embrace dream and mythology, which are concerned with the turning from beauty or glamour to that which comes afterwards. Geraldine Swayne makes mysterious portraits with contrasting results. Swayne’s lyrical and subtly naïve paintings depict subjects that are on the verge of becoming, and also display a wanton or corrupted glamour.

Finally, Barry Thompson refers to the landscapes of his adolescent past to investigate nostalgia and youthful rites of passage.   

Geraldine Swayne
Queer Altarpiece
2019, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 213.5 x 152.5 cm.
Tom Butler
2018, Gouache on Albumen print, 16.5 x 10.8 cm.
Florian Heinke
2018, Oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm.
Hugh Mendes
Obituary: Gwen John
2018, Oil on linen, 40 x 30 cm.
Emma Bennett
Scenes like these (Palace)
2018, Oil on oak panel, 20 x 25 cm.
Dominic Shepherd
The Beast
2017, Oil on linen, 40 x 56 cm.
Barry Thompson
And I knew the murmurs of the soul
2018, Oil on panel, 11.5 x 18 cm.