Paul Barlow: Surface Dressing | Slugtown

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Slugtown, 22 Lesbury Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne
Running until August 18
By appointment only

Paul Barlow’s paintings seem to defy the edge of the canvases that house them. Fields of fluid colour appear in a state of flux, refusing to settle on the surface or be corralled into shape. Loose brushstrokes fight with stains of paint, soaked into raw canvas, all in constant tension with calm, controlled lines.

Colour choices stem from the artist’s interest in the everyday cultural artefacts we see in the periphery of our vision. Think branding, billboards and functional signage. These paintings are not cold and corporate, however. Soft edges, tender mark-making and the presence of the artist’s hand give Barlow’s work a human, almost ethreal quality.

Barlow often works on the floor of his studio, using the rougher, back side of the canvas. Paintings are stretched and re-stretched, distorting the idea of the perfect frame and incorporating the presence of the support. These are not images to be viewed but objects to be experienced.

Since graduating from Sheffield Hallam University, Barlow has exhibited with Linne Urbye at Ana Cristea Gallery in New York and held a solo exhibition at Losers Gym in Nottingham. Barlow also featured in a group exhibition at Millennium Gallery celebrating the diverse practice of Sheffield based artists, and has recently been accepted into the Royal Academy Schools class of 2020.

Exhibitions at Slugtown are open by appointment only, which can be arrange by contacting


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