Phoebe Unwin: Iris

Towner presents this solo exhibition by contemporary painter Phoebe Unwin, which includes a significant body of new work, seen here for the first time. There is a duality in Unwin’s paintings in which she explores the physical and emotive aspects of looking, yet roots them in personal experienceShe moves us from individual, intimate and unspoken experiences through to the communal and universal, as well as reflecting on the nature of painting itself.  

Her paintings are more suggestive of sensations, mood, and the subjective quality of seeing, than any distinct narrative. Figures slide in and out of focus, drawing the eye into an alternative imagined space. Her works take the experience of the self to be something ever changeable, both in scale and in psychological presence. 

Unwin’s work is shaped by her experiments into the tactile and sculptural quality of paint, and by variations in translucency and palette range. Indeed, colour is critical to her paintings; using a wide spectrum, they are an exploration of how contrasting and complementing colour can provoke different associations in the viewer.

Born in Cambridge and now based in London, Phoebe Unwin (b.1979) studied at the University of Newcastle followed by the Slade School of Art. Her most recent solo exhibitions include  Field, held at the Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy, and Pregnant Landscape at Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London, both 2018. Her work has been included in group shows at Tate Britain and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art Sunderland, as well as in Towner’s 2016 exhibitions Towards Night and One Day Something Happens. 

Photo: Rob Harris

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