Mixing It Up: Painting Today

Zhang Yuewei

Hayward Gallery, London, UK


Mixing It Up: Painting Today brings together 31 contemporary painters whose work freely draws on varied image sources, techniques and traditions in order to fashion fresh and compelling works of art that speak to this moment.


Featuring three generations of artists who live and work in the UK, Mixing It Up: Painting Today highlights the country’s emergence as a vital international centre of contemporary painting. Reflecting the international character of the UK painting scene, the participating artists come from a diverse range of backgrounds and nationalities: over a third of the participating artists were born in other places, including countries in Africa, Asia, South America and North America. Mixing It Up: Painting Today is also the first survey of contemporary painting in the Hayward Gallery’s history in which the majority of the artists are women.


Above all, the paintings in this exhibition are resonantly ambiguous. These works invite viewers to recruit their own imaginations in working out different ways to interpret them, whilst often questioning how their social reception might shift among different audiences. Whether reflecting on aspects of present-day experience or framing old stories from fresh perspectives, they draw on painting’s capacity for linking seemingly unrelated things (and the ideas and feelings associated with them) in ways that provoke us to find meanings for them.


Ralph Rugoff, Director at the Hayward Gallery, says: “If painting is typically pigeon-holed as the most conservative and traditional of art forms, the artists in Mixing It Up offer evidence for a contrary point of view: that in fact painting – thanks to some of its unique characteristics – may in fact be the medium that accommodates the most conceptually adventurous thinking.”


Image courtesy of Hayward Gallery.

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