Rowena Comrie and Sarah Kudirka: ‘STOP.START’

Wasps presents ‘STOP.START.’, a joint exhibition from Rowena Comrie and Sarah Kudirka at South Block.

Exhibition Open: 4 Aug – 21 Sep
Mon-Fri, 9-5

STOP.START. brings together Rowena Comrie’s exuberant ‘alla prima’ paintings and Sarah Kudirka’s ‘trashed canvases’ – bold and colourful paintings made in markedly different ways.

Contemporary painters Rowena Comrie and Sarah Kudirka each show energy, spontaneity and tenacity in their mature work. Both work in Wasps studios and became friends while elected Council Members of the Society of Scottish Artists.

Comrie’s vivid style has given her an established presence in the Scottish art scene but it is Kudirka’s first gallery show in Scotland since moving to Glasgow.

There is marked contrast in what each does with paint, but there are evident synergies in their approach to bold colour and abstraction. Comrie with her highly-considered brushstrokes and squeegee swipes attains perfect-first-time colours and exquisite balance in her large paintings. Kudirka repeatedly obliterates surfaces already made, layering and removing colours, scratching, scraping and remaking before her images are done.

While neither is solely process-driven, elements of stop.start play a part in the methodology of both. Seen together here for the first time their work may seem to ask: does it change the destination if you have a plan, or not, for getting there?

Rowena Comrie

BA (Hons.) Fine Art, 1978-82, University of Reading. Lived in Aberdeen for 20 years, based in Glasgow since 2010

Has exhibited widely since the ‘90s, recent shows at Dean Clough, Halifax and Ivy Tech John Waldron, Bloomington, USA.

Comrie’s paintings are about the spontaneous expression of feelings tempered by the objective assessment of chance occurrences, identified in the Surrealist canon as ‘Objective Chance’. In her work spontaneity and deliberation are the keys to the creation of her painterly puzzles, where each mark is appraised with an aesthetic appreciation of potential expressive meaning. Expressive painting, where pigments are laid on in a single automatic application, places an importance on the moment by moment mood, ranging from fun to fury. Capturing in a gesture meaning born from a provocative tension balanced by colour and form.

Sarah Kudirka

BA (Hons.) Fine Art, 1986-90 & MA in Sculpture Studies, 1991, University of Leeds. The Passey Prize in Art (gained under maiden name Sarah Davenport) 1990

Lives and works in Glasgow. Exhibiting in England since the ‘90s. Project Ability Research Residency and one-day installation at Trongate103 in 2018. Most recently seen at Borders and Glasgow Contemporary Art Fairs and ArtCarBoot Glasgow presented by Patricia Fleming Gallery at SWG3.

Kudirka’s work concerns the shapes and edges of stuff all around us from cities, buildings, and furniture to objects. Her work is distinctively low-tech – characterised by obliterated, incised, scratched, scraped, layered paint. She pulls things apart and builds them back up again iteratively. Her ‘trashed canvases’ bear the marks of violent intervention but to watch her working it is evidently a joyous process – noisy and fun – and the results have a tactile softness. Works in this show on canvas, linen and surprisingly a metal table, show her return to painting at bold scale (after a decade immersed in Polaroids) with the confidence to trash her work and get somewhere entirely new.