Phoebe Unwin

28 November 2013
Phoebe Unwin, Concrete Ball, 2012, Acrylic, powder pastel and acrylic pumice gel on canvas, 70.3 x 80.5 cm, © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Wilkinson Gallery

Southampton City Art Gallery

Purchased by the Contemporary Art Society for Southampton City Art Gallery in honour of Paul Hobson (Director, Contemporary Art Society, 2007-2013), 2013.  Southampton City Art Gallery’s collection comprises some 3,900 works of art spanning eight centuries for European art.  The core of the collection is British twentieth century and contemporary painting and sculpture.  Within that element are now four strong clusters: Post-Impressionism, Surrealists, St Ives, and a progressive contemporary from the mid-1970s.  Since its foundation in 1911 the gallery has always worked with an advisor from a national institution with the focus to purchase contemporary works, usually made within two years of purchase.  This has resulted in an incredibly rich contemporary British Collection which Phoebe Unwin’s work now forms part of.

Born in Cambridge in 1979, Phoebe Unwin trained at Newcastle University and the Slade School of Fine Art.  She has developed a singular and unique practice that relies on the continual collecting of ideas, scraps of the material world, images, textures and memories of transient life experiences and these are compiled in sketch books.  The content of these books are the inspiration and source material for making paintings. Everyday events become transformed in Unwin’s work.

Concrete Ball comes from a body of work focused on material relationship to image within painting, where the material itself is part of the subject of the painting.  The title describes both the physicality of the painting and also what is pictured.  In her words “I was interested in capturing a sensation of conflict: between lightness and heaviness, stillness and movement.” The concrete like effect is made with an artist’ acrylic medium called Pumice Gel.  The washes are a combination of acrylic and poster pastel. As well as a contrast through texture the painting tracks physical movement giving the sensation and visual description of the ball moving across the picture plane.

Concrete Ball is currently on display at Southampton City Art Gallery


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