Phoebe Unwin

Shortlist Unveiled for the Max Mara Art Prize for Women 2015
By Lauren Orscheln
October 6, 2015

Phoebe Unwin in Vitamin P2

By Lee Triming
Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting, p. 296-297
Phaidon Press Limited, 2011

Much has been made of Phoebe Unwin's catholic plundering of painting's history, but while her canvases clearly draw upon the possibilities set out by this history, she is very clear that her strategy is not one of the literal or ironic sampling. Her interest is less in historical critique than in the attempt to construct a language, destabilizing the painting in order to engineer a fresh encounter with this most familiar of art objects.

Phoebe Unwin in ArtForum

April 2011 pp. 22

Something has been happening in the painting departments of London's art schools in recent years. The Royal College of Art, Slade School of Fine Art, Goldsmiths, and the Royal Academy of Arts have all turned out young painters who have rapidly ascended into the city's best contemporary galleries and collections. While it seems harsh to be so reductive, there is a common thread many of them share: a semi-naïve, figurative approach that pays homage to Guston and early Picasso, often offering Dana Schutz a deferential nod too. The trouble is, not all of the members of this new "London School" are as great as the hype suggests. Phoebe Unwin, though, is definitely one of the good ones. Her recent solo exhibition, "Man Made," may not have been perfect, but it did show the potential of her thoughtful approach to paint.

Phoebe Unwin in British Art Show 7

In the Days of the Comet

Hayward Gallery, London
16 February to 17 April 2011

The British Art Show is widely recognised as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British art. Organised by Hayward Touring, it takes place every five years and tours to four different cities across the UK. Now in its seventh incarnation, British Art Show 7 opens in Nottingham, and tours to the Hayward Gallery in London and galleries across the cities of Glasgow and Plymouth.

British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet featuring Phoebe Unwin

British Art Show 7 pays particular attention to the ways that artists use history to illuminate the present. Thirty nine artists have been invited for their significant contribution to British art since 2005. More than half of the selected artists are showing new works, including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, video, film and performance.

British Art Show 7 is subtitled In the Days of the Comet. Comets have long been held to herald change. Halley's comet appeared in 1066, the year of the Norman invasion. H.G Wells' novel In the Days of the Comet is set in 1910, the date of another appearance by Halley.

Wells imagines a comet which releases a green gas that creates a great change, turning humans away from war and exploitation and towards rational understanding and a heightened appreciation of beauty. The comet was last visible in 1986, the year of the deregulation of British banking, known as Margaret Thatcher's Big Bang. British Art Show 7 highlights how artists today explore historical episodes that shape our experience of the present and anticipation of the future.

British Art Show 7 will be shown in Nottingham, London, Glasgow and Plymouth. It is intended to be viewed as one exhibition across the three Nottingham venues.


Panel Discussion: Is Conviction in Painting Possible?

The first talk, titled Is Conviction in Painting Possible? will start at 4 pm on Saturday May 23rd and is a panel discussion on the current status of contemporary painting. The talk will aim to examine the intrinsic challenge in theorizing about contemporary painting, based not only on studio practice but also through writing.

The panel will be moderated by Ed Schad and will include Andrew Berardini, Jens Hoffmann, Phoebe Unwin and Liat Yossifor. This discussion marks the first in a series of talks at the gallery that will bring together artists, curators, writers and critics in an environment where an organic dialogue can stem from a central topic or designated theme