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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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Diana Campbell Betancourt Ocula Conversation Diana Campbell Betancourt

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...

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Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Ocula Report Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Mar 2019 : Mike Pinnington for Ocula

China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...

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Callum Innes

b. 1962, United Kingdom

Scottish artist Callum Innes has forged a worldwide reputation as one of the most significant abstract painters of his generation. Single-mindedly following his own path, since the early 1990s he has explored monochrome painting in highly innovative ways, creating minimalist geometric abstract works that have captured the attention of the international art world.

Innes’ distinctive works are characterized by monochromatic colour zones within precise geometric compositions, yet their apparent simplicity belies their complexity of construction and depth of expression. His paintings have a powerful, almost physical impact on the senses and emotions. Their effect is magical, entrancing and mesmerizing the viewer.

Callum Innes was born in Edinburgh in 1962. He studied drawing and painting at Grays School of Art, Aberdeen, from 1980 to 1984 and completed a post-graduate degree at Edinburgh College of Art in 1985. He was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 1995, won the prestigious NatWest Prize for Painting in 1998, and in 2002 was awarded the Jerwood Prize for Painting.

At art school, Innes focused on figurative works but decided to move towards abstraction after a career-changing residency in Amsterdam in 1987, when he had the chance to see the work of more international artists. However, he still wished to retain a figurative element, a human presence in his work. This was translated in his approach to making the painting and its physical nature. His paintings are created through a complex process of application and removal of paint. Instead of building up a painting through an accumulation of brush strokes which eventually fill the canvas, he often paints a canvas in one colour before using turpentine to wipe away paint from one section of the surface, sometimes revealing the gesso-primed canvas itself. He may repeat this process several times. This systematic layering and dissolving, which takes place over several days, weeks or months, gives his work a complex rhythm and beauty.

Often a thin, vertical line where the cleansed and painted sections of the composition meet, separates the two halves of the canvas. It is not created as an afterthought but is an integral part of the creation of the painting. This line, and the edges of the colour zones, which appear at first glance monochromatic, retain the various faintly coloured residues of the paint which has been removed - traces of the process and controlled chaos of their production. Paradoxically, while the act of creation can be uncertain and tense, the end results are calm and meditative.

Callum Innes makes works in a number of different ways which are continually evolving. He has produced paintings, sculptures and paper works. His series of paintings including Exposed Paintings, Agitated Verticals, Resonance, Isolated Forms and Monologue works are all made by this process of ‘un-painting’ as well as painting. While his forms are sharp and precise, the proportions of his compositions meticulously calculated and perfect, the paintings possess a sense of mystery and emotion which perhaps stem from their often figurative inspiration. Although they are abstract, Innes says they all started originally from figures, plant forms, architectural features or natural occurrences. It is not hard to imagine that the luminous quality of his paintings derives from the vastness and brilliant light witnessed by the artist on his walks on the east coast of his native Scotland.

Innes’ abstract compositions have a feeling of balance and purity, as well as a sense of both space and time. His process of creation leaves behind a memory of what was there before, as the paintings carry within them the evidence that something has disappeared. In this way, the materials he uses are not only the tools of his art but also its subject. The time that has passed, the process of painting, is a vital part of the end result. His paintings elicit a response on many levels—emotional, physical and even spiritual—but the artist is reluctant to explain their magic, preferring to leave each viewer to experience them in his own way.

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Featured Artworks

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Exposed Painting by Callum Innes contemporary artwork Callum InnesExposed Painting, 2018 Oil on linen
160 x 157 cm
Ingleby Gallery
Untitled Lamp Black by Callum Innes contemporary artwork Callum InnesUntitled Lamp Black, 2018 Oil on linen
160 x 157 cm
Ingleby Gallery
Exposed Painting Paris Blue by Callum Innes contemporary artwork Callum InnesExposed Painting Paris Blue, 2018 Oil on linen
160 x 156 cm
Sean Kelly
Exposed Painting Crimson Lake by Callum Innes contemporary artwork Callum InnesExposed Painting Crimson Lake, 2018 Oil on linen
160 x 156 cm
Sean Kelly
Exposed Painting Delft Blue by Callum Innes contemporary artwork Callum InnesExposed Painting Delft Blue, 2018 Oil on linen
120 x 119 cm
Sean Kelly
Exposed Painting Oriental Blue by Callum Innes contemporary artwork Callum InnesExposed Painting Oriental Blue, 2018 Oil on linen
120 x 119 cm
Sean Kelly
Untitled Lamp Black No. 24 by Callum Innes contemporary artwork Callum InnesUntitled Lamp Black No. 24, 2018 Oil on linen
120 x 118 cm
Sean Kelly

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Callum Innes, Callum Innes at Sean Kelly, Taipei
Open Now
16 January–30 March 2019 Callum Innes Callum Innes Sean Kelly, Taipei
Contemporary art exhibition, Callum Innes, Byzantine Blue, Delft Blue, Paris Blue at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
Closed
12 May–14 July 2018 Callum Innes Byzantine Blue, Delft Blue, Paris Blue Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
Contemporary art exhibition, Callum Innes, WITH CURVE at Sean Kelly, New York
Closed
17 March–29 April 2017 Callum Innes WITH CURVE Sean Kelly, New York

Represented By

In Related Press

Interview with Callum Innes Related Press Interview with Callum Innes art*zine : 20 July 2016

On view at i8 gallery from June 9th-August 6th is a solo show by the Scottish painter, Callum Innes. Born in Edinburgh in 1962, he studied at Gray’s School of Art and the Edinburgh College of Art. Erin Honeycutt sat down with him at i8 gallery the day of the opening to discuss his past and future work.

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A moment's pause: Callum Innes creates a space in time Related Press A moment's pause: Callum Innes creates a space in time The Reykjavík Grapevine : 16 June 2016

Callum Innes sits in the lounge area of the i8 gallery, looking at a flyer while he thinks. He picks up a pen, and unconsciously presses it to the card, about a third of the way in from the left edge. He moves the pen to the centre, and tilts his head slightly, regarding the flyer, now split in two by his line. He shifts the pen to the right edge,...

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In Related Video

Ingleby Gallery Callum Innes Related Video & Audio Ingleby Gallery Callum Innes Ingleby Gallery : 23 March 2018

Callum Innes is one of the leading abstract painters of his generation, widely recognised for the distinctive visual language of layering and removing pigment that he has developed over the past 20 years. In this film Innes invites us into his Edinburgh studio and discusses the making of his Exposed Paintings, the series of works for which he is...

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Callum Innes – 'I'm Curious About Colour' | TateShots Related Video & Audio Callum Innes – 'I'm Curious About Colour' | TateShots Tate : 10 February 2011

TateShots travelled to Edinburgh to meet Callum Innes, one of the artists featured in Tate Britain's 'Watercolour' exhibition.

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