press release

This exhibition presents new works from the painter Merlin James, with others from across his career. Continuity and duration are active elements in the artist’s process: often he reworks paintings over long periods, making it impossible to pin them down to one year or one stage of his practice. In his exhibitions, as in the studio, newer paintings echo, develop or diverge from earlier ones in a strikingly diverse body of work. James further extends temporal reach by referencing genres and antitypes from across art history. As well as a painter he is known for his extensive critical writing on art.

James’ concern with the history of his medium is not, however, a conceptually detached one, and the material qualities and problems of painting-as-object remain paramount. As part of this, James often constructs highly individual integral picture frames for his works. In recent years he has also begun to incorporate objects into the paintings themselves – often small model buildings made with offcuts from the framing process. Some of these studio ‘by-products’ (as the artist refers to them) will be included in Long Game.