“May a brush mark be compared to a word, a sound – a note vibrating in space?” A conversation with Bernadette O’Toole.

Bernadette O’Toole is a UK based artist/researcher and Associate Lecturer in Art and Design at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2020 she completed a practice-based PhD at Sheffield Hallam University. Her research, Beyond the Space of Painting and Poetry: Mallarmé and the Embodied Gesture re-imagines the space of painting through the space of poetry – through a network of reciprocal relations manifest in Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard, (A throw of the Dice will never abolish Chance). She writes, ‘Mallarmé’s generative poem, distinguished by its capacity for multiple and simultaneous readings weaves together word, image and sound. It is through this lens that I approach painting, through an expanded understanding and re-evaluation of the relation between the space of painting and poetry, and discourses that underpin spatial and temporal readings of the text. In other words, I work across disciplines, across languages, differentiating between disciplinary codes and conventions and between modes of reading, writing, speaking and painting’.

“The act of painting is for myself, but the paintings are not for me, they are for whoever is curious to know more about them, have them, look at them.” A conversation with Joana de Oliveira Guerreiro

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Joana de Oliveira Guerreiro has lived and worked in Liverpool since 2015. Before pursuing a career in art, she studied Military Strategy and worked for NATO in Brussels. In 2019 Joana undertook a residency with CreArt in Valladolid, Spain and exhibited the work she made there at Output Gallery in Liverpool. In February 2019 she participated in Refractive Pool’s Contemporary Painting in Liverpool Symposium at Liverpool Hope University’s Capstone Theatre. Joana and Josie recently had a correspondence conversation about her work, how she came to be a painter and how her ideas are realised through painting.

“I think there are certain images, or ways of setting things up within a framework, within a canvas, or room, or sculpture or whatever, that are so idiosyncratic and specific to the artist. A way of arranging things that is as personal as handwriting.” A conversation with Luke Skiffington.

Luke Skiffington is an artist based at Make Hamilton Square. Luke moved to Liverpool from Oxford in 2019. He studied for a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London, from 1997-2000 and for an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art from 2003-2004. He was artist in residence at CAMAC, Marnay-sur-Seine (near Paris), France in 2006 and La Napoule Art Foundation, Chateau La Napoule, France 2005.

He has exhibited internationally since 1999. His exhibitions have included ’Blue Screen’ at The Glass Tank, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK 2019, ’Manuscript-Letter Home,’ China Academy of Art Museum, Hangzhou, China 2017, ‘Artist Of The Day 2016’, Flowers, London, Luke Skiffington/Andy Jackson, Interview Room 11, Edinburgh, 2015 and ‘The Unassuming Eye’, Sobering Galerie, Paris, 2014.  His work was selected for BEEP Painting Biennial 2020, Elysium Gallery, Swansea in October 2020.

We met with Luke in his studio not long after he moved in. We started off talking about Luke’s recent move to Liverpool.

“A painting is both an image and an object. I like to get these two things to influence each other. It’s important to me that I make objects; things in the world.” A studio visit with Jason Thompson.

Jason Thompson is an artist based at Metal Edge Hill Station. He studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design from 1990 to 1995, completing a BA and an MA in Fine Art. Jason’s work is included in the collections of The Walker Art Gallery, The Arts Council Collection and the Office of Public Works, Ireland. Jason was shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize in 2010 and for the Liverpool Art Prize in 2014. He is currently represented by Wilson Stephens and Jones, London and BDDW Annex Gallery, New York. 

We visited Jason at his studio to chat about his practice, where his ideas come from, how he goes about making a painting and how he feels about his work.

“On my residency I realised, what I create, is like a little world, an escape. It’s an escape for me, but also for other people when they look at it.” A conversation with Cherie Grist.

Cherie Grist is an artist based at 104 Duke Street Studios in Liverpool, which she also manages. Cherie recently undertook a residency with Cel del Nord, located in the small village of Oristà in the Lluçanès region of Catalonia. We met Cherie at 104 Duke Street, where she occupies a large open space to accommodate her large-scale paintings. Standing in Cherie’s studio feels rather like standing inside one of her paintings. Her working area includes one large wall dedicated to paintings in progress, a comfy seating area, a desk area, a wall stacked with finished paintings and another covered with brightly coloured images. The colours she likes to use in her paintings are everywhere.

Refractive Pool – Contemporary Painting in Liverpool Symposium, 9.30am-2pm, Friday 7th February 2020

Refractive Pool – Contemporary Painting in Liverpool Symposium, 9.30am-2pm, Friday 7th February 2020.  

Refractive Pool has partnered with Liverpool Hope University to bring you a symposium that will explore aspects of Liverpool’s contemporary painting scene, through presentations from Liverpool based artists and a panel discussion, focusing on the experience of painters working in the city. The symposium will encourage discussion about contemporary painting in Liverpool, informing Refractive Pool’s research.  Refreshments provided.

This is a free event. All welcome! Reserve your place now via Eventbrite

Venue details:

Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus
Capstone Theatre
17 Shaw Street
L6 1HP

“I have tried to capture aspects of the Texan landscape; scale, flatness, space and light, colour and vastness.” An interview with Gareth Kemp.

Gareth Kemp is an artist based in Liverpool at The Bridewell Studios and Gallery. He was recently awarded Arts Council England funding through the Artists’ International Development Fund to spend time in Texas, raising his international profile, through meetings with artists and curators and collecting source material for making new work. We visited Gareth in The Bridewell to see his new work presented in the gallery. Gareth and Josie then had a correspondence conversation about recent developments in his artistic career, his trip to Texas and his new work.

“There’s always a point when I’m painting where I hate the painting, I absolutely loathe it. I can’t stand it and then it comes around.” A conversation with Anna Ketskemety.

Anna Ketskemety is an artist based at Arena Studios in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle.  Arena Studios is made up of one large warehouse room, divided up into smaller studio spaces, a common area, which is also used as a gallery, and a small kitchen.  Anna occupies one of the smallest studio spaces. She works around this with a moveable studio wall, a worktop on wheels and carefully designed storage.