Once It’s In You It Never Goes Away is the first ever painting exhibition at Summerhall, a privately funded arts centre located in the former Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. The exhibition is by Summerhall’s resident artist and assistant curator, Stephen Thorpe.

Once It's In You It Never Goes Away

Stephen Thorpe, who recently won the Saatchi “Places and Spaces” competition, creates colourful, precisely executed paintings with rough edges that make them look like they have been ripped out of the wall. He usually works in oil, canvas and expanding foam, but this exhibition is the first time he’s worked on neon. His paintings have also taken a new direction and a deliberate shift away from his older work of dreamlike and surreal interiors that are sometimes described as claustrophobic.

It’s hard to place Thorpe in a category. His paintings create a sense of displacement, and their compositions challenge the rules of physics and trick your sense of perception. They are almost like optical illusions. Even when Thorpe’s working process is organic and his approach towards this exhibition has been more experimental, there is preciseness and purposefulness to his technique. The way Thorpe prepares his canvases creates random imperfections in the surface, which are only revealed upon closer inspection. According to the artist, his work is about “tension between surface and subject, and literal and conceptual.”

Once It's In You It Never Goes Away

Quantum physics is the running theme in the exhibition and the titles of the paintings reflect this. Three of the paintings are titled after particles: Lepton, Boson and Fermion. The paintings appear very geometric and architectural and feature bright blocks and drips of colour. Two other paintings, Deviant Higgs and Event Horizon have a more organic feel ¬– almost like theatrical sets in surreal, natural outdoor environments.  Reflections and blurring the boundaries of space are all apparent.

The exhibition includes two neon works, both created as collaboration. First of them, a work called “22” is a play on contrasting materials: fragile glass and broken rubble. It also represents the collaboration, two individuals working together.

Although at first glance the neon work doesn’t quite belong with the paintings, they are joined together by the largest painting, Untitled (Gala) 2012, which includes a painted red neon sign. Also, the exhibition takes its title from one of the neon works: the words “Once It’s In You It Never Goes Away” situated high up on the wall. As the artist wants to leave the interpretation of the sentence to the viewers, it’s hard to know how it relates to Quantum Physics.

Once It's In You It Never Goes Away

Once It’s In You It Never Goes Away is an exhibition that will make you challenge how you view your surroundings. It’ll definitely make you wonder what remains with you forever.

The exhibition continues at Summerhall, Edinburgh until 22 February 2013.

By Heidi Kuisma

Find out more: Website


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