Fifteen painters join up to explore the ‘underbelly of urban existence’ for Bethnal Green show

Divided self by Timothy Hyman. Image: courtesy of Urban Contemporaries

Fifteen figurative painters have joined forces to chronicle their experiences of city living for a new exhibition in Bethnal Green.

Urban Contemporaries at Espacio Gallery features 80 paintings, hung salon-style, which provide a variety of interpretations of city existence.

Co-curator and contributor Ferha Farooqui says each artist is “attempting to capture the visual character and essential forces of the urban encounter through exploring scenes of everyday life”.

Royal Academician Timothy Hyman is supplying a number of works for the show.

The other 14 artists involved are Sharon Beavan, Frank Creber, Gethin Evans, Susanne du Toit, Ferha Farooqui, Annette Fernando, Sarah Lowe, Michael Johnson, Elizabeth McCarten, Michael Major, Alex Pemberton, Melissa Scott-Miller, Grant Watson and Charles Williams.

In these Graffiti Ruins by Gethin Evans. Image: courtesy of Urban Contemporaries

A statement on the exhibition’s website says the collective will offer “new insight into the forgotten, overlooked, dirty underbelly of the urban experience and also its uplifting, chaotic energy and movement”.

The artists have used combinations of careful observation, photographs, private archives, film and other media transposed into paint to record their personal encounters with city existence and offer new stories and narratives.

Farooqui said: “Some use drawings and paintings as visual accounts to convey the disappearance of social and cultural landmarks, others interact with symbolic elements to transmit feeling, atmosphere and humanity, exploring the sense of intimacy and detachment, specific to cities.”

Urban Contemporaries is on until Sunday 10 March at Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG.

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