“The Sunday Painter” might conjure an image of elderly amateurs painting tranquil watercolors of landscapes, but two artists-turned-gallerists are turning the expression on its head. “It’s usually used in a fairly negative sense towards hobbyists or unschooled artists,” Will Jarvis and Harry Beer once explained, “but it doesn't hold that association for us now… in our final year of our degree we were accused of coming across as ‘Sunday painters’ due to an apparent slack approach toward a certain project… It was that remark that gave us the impetus to do something to almost prove him/her wrong.”
First housed in a dilapidated function room of a south London pub that the founders converted, the The Sunday Painter (TSP) launched as a nomadic, artist-led project in 2008, focusing on emerging artists, later setting up shop at the heart of London’s burgeoning Peckham scene, as a gallery and artist studio complex. Jarvis and Beer’s unconventional approach quickly paid off: the pioneering gallerist Hannah Barry took an interest in their exhibitions, culminating in an invitation to participate in “Bold Tendencies,” the sculpture show that Barry organizes. Now, due to financial pressures and a desire to deepen their support and representation of artists, The Sunday Painter has gone commercial. “From the outset the overheads that come with the running of a gallery program and a commercial property were funded by the studios, the odd sale, and working other jobs. However, there came a time around two years ago when it was obvious that this was not a long term option for us,” Beer told Artsy.
New Yorkers benefit from this development next week, when TSP comes to NADA NY with a presentation of new work by the London artist Hannah Perry. Known for videos that are mashups of personal and TV footage, advertising reels, and the influences of British rave culture and hip hop, as well as print, installation, sculpture, and performance works, Perry will show works from her “on the bonnet” series. These works, Beer explains, “stem from an ongoing preoccupation in her practice with the subculture of boy-racing and lead on from a 2013 video work Kicking my game. As with a lot of Perry’s source material there is an autobiographical element, yet her methods of processing material through repetition, multi-layering, and rhythm disperses any hierarchy between things and allow for the poetics of imagery that might sometime be overlooked, appear.”
Looking back, do Jarvis and Beer have any regrets about taking their hobby to the big-time? “I’d say we all went into it blind, and with zero experience which, although it has had its disadvantages and is something I’d not recommend, if we hadn’t done it when we did we might not have done it at all,” Beer reflects.
The Sunday Painter is on view at NADA New York 2014, Main, Booth 406, May 9th – 11th.
Left to right: Hannah Perry, Harry Beer, Will Jarvis