London

Estelle Thompson

Purdy Hicks

The paintings Estelle Thompson showed in her major exhibition in Walsall, England, three years ago were large in scale. Called “Fuse” paintings, their dimensions calculated in relation to the architecture of the gallery’s spaces, all were composed of narrow vertical stripes whose edges shaded into each other. While their physical proportions encouraged the viewer to feel securely anchored within the surroundings, the blurred quality of their surfaces made it impossible to get a visual fix on them. That the resultant disequilibrium between visual and somatic input has been a familiar experience in the face of recent painting was very much part of Thompson’s argument in her flirtation with, and resistance to, the decorative impulse. On the one hand acknowledging all that has been said about painting’s endgame status and the utter irrelevance of any abstraction/figuration distinction and, on

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