January 18, 2019

Caragh Thuring @ Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples

Caragh Thuring
Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples
22 January - 2 March 2019

On the first anniversary of Thomas Dane Gallery in Naples and the fourth exhibition in the space, the gallery presents a solo exhibition of new works by Caragh Thuring (b. 1972, Brussels). Utilising various fabrics as canvas, including sailcloth, Neapolitan tartan and woven images of her own previous works, Caragh Thuring constructs fragments of submarines, coins, plants, figures, textiles and volcanoes into compositions that explore the spatial depth and vocabulary of painting. The exhibition is accompanies by an artist's book focused purely on Caragh Thuring's depictions of volcanoes created over the last fifteen years.

In these new works Caragh Thuring has returned frequently to the motif of tartan, both as a woven fabric and as depicted in paint. The tartan geometry acts as a two-dimensional plane and referential grid on which the syntactical elements of the painting are arranged and through which they are all connected. Thuring has continued this exploration by stretching as her canvas, a registered Neapolitan tartan produced by local draper ISAIA, a fabric producer established in the 1920s and still in operation today as a renowned tailor and menswear label. The long tradition of tailoring and cloth making in Italy and Naples here linked directly with that of Scotland where Caragh Thuring grew up, close to another industrial port city: Glasgow, much alike in its energy and vibrancy to Naples.

The often idiosyncratic depictions of tartan act like a tousled veil or curtain across the work, through which we view the elements of the painting. Its hand-rendered imprecision is in stark contrast to the strict, flat surface of the canvas. This veil adds a strong spatial element to the works, with fragments of imagery appearing behind, on and in front of it. The sequence of components seems to stretch even beyond the bounds of the painting, with the un-primed canvas receding to an infinite depth while elements on the surface almost fall out of the painting and collide with the viewer. 

Alongside stretched and painted tartan Caragh Thuring will also utilise a unique method she has developed to produce her canvas, collaborating with English silk-weavers to make fabric from images of her own previous paintings. This process extends Caragh Thuring's interest in seriality and the interchange between digital and analogue processes in her work. By fabricating her own canvas, Thuring is able to start not from emptiness but from an already activated surface. In these over-painted woven and textile surfaces Caragh Thuring takes on responsibility for all aspects of the painting's physicality, rather than simply relying on an established or found surface material.

The publication that accompanies the show reproduces forty-four paintings made by the artist over the last fifteen years that include depictions of volcanoes alongside a text written by Gillian Darley, author of Vesuvius (published by Profile Books in 2011) and an in-conversation with artist Glenn Brown (b. 1966, Hexham). Caragh Thuring, since the beginning of her career, has been captivated by volcanoes, their mystery, phenomenal natural power and depiction in romantic paintings. This fascination goes back to the very first painting she made on beginning her studio practice after years working in a gallery: a cut-through cross section of an erupting volcano. The book is available on sale during the exhibition.

Caragh Thuring was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1972, but grew up in UK and has lived and worked in London since graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 1995. Recent solo exhibitions include: Anthony Meier, San Francisco, 2018; Thomas Dane Gallery, London 2016/17 and Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2014/15.

Recent group exhibitions include: Criminal Ornamentation, Hayward Touring exhibition curated by Yinka Shonibare; Virginia Woolf, an exhibition inspired by her writings, Tate St. Ives, St. Ives, Cornwall; Pallant House, Chichester, England; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Voyage, Galeria Bergamin & Gomide, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Call and Response at Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York.

Via Francesco Crispi, 69, Napoli