Outlines Roughly the Size of a Suit: Luke Burton & Victor Seaward

9 February - 16 March 2019

Union Gallery is pleased to present Outlines Roughly the Size of a Suit, a two-person exhibition by Luke Burton and Victor Seaward, curated by William Gustafsson. Burton and Seaward present works that connect painting and its objecthood with architectural techniques and materials.

Burton often employs a painted concertina or ‘dressing’ screen as a provisional architectural structure for his paintings. His interest lies in the two-sided nature of these screens: their suggestion of dividing interior and exterior spaces; allusions to a front- stage and backstage; their resolute identification as simultaneously painting, furniture and temporary architecture. These screens unify and qualify physical space in the round whilst emphatically declaring themselves as painting. This ambivalence is played out at the level of representation too, with Burton’s recurring male figure of ‘Ambivalent Man’, who appears on the front side of the screen, quietly anxious before a deluge of water from whipping hosepipes.

For Seaward, the architectural is located in the material qualities of his cast panels through his use of Terrazzo. Developed in eighteenth century Venice, the decorative flooring method of Terrazzo uses varied aggregates that are held within a cement binder before the surface is ground down and polished. Once the height of luxury, the technique's lineage now adorns the halls of train stations, shopping malls and other everyday high-footfall locations. Seaward reimagines this technique by reducing its scale and transforming its function. This produces a shift from the expansive field of architectural flooring to the more autonomous, intimate quality of painting.

Ornament and its relationship to pattern have an important role in the work of Burton and Seaward. Ornament is used as abstract pattern but also exists in relation to a field of pictorial symbols and allusions. Often the artists will respectively find an ornamental form, either directly quoted from contemporary or historical source material, or imagined from an existing amalgam of archetypes. They share an interest in the mutability of these figures; the question of their traceability within history, like an etymology of form, but also their empty, ubiquitous nature. Like free-floating extant signs, they are ready for use, but what use?

Luke Burton (b. 1983, London, UK) studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design, BA, London (2002 – 2005) and MA at the Royal College of Art, London (2011-2013). Recent exhibitions include: Becoming Sweet New Styles (solo exhibition), Bosse & Baum, London; Sweep / Landskip, Kinokino Kunstal, Stavanger, Norway (both 2018); Granpalazzo (solo exhibition), Ariccia, Rome; Print Department, Division of Labour, London; Waves, Turf Projects, London (all 2017); In 2019, he will be Artist-in-Residence as a Visiting Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge for the academic year.

Burton lives and works in London, UK

Victor Seaward (b. 1988, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) is a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art where he studied Painting. Recent exhibitions include: To The Core, White Crypt, London; The MetallurgicalOuroboros, Gossamer Fog, London; Arc. curated by Kris Day, Herrick Gallery, London; Les Mains Dans Les Poches, Pierre Poumet, Bordeaux; Spring Syllabus, J Hammond Projects, London. Victor was a recipient of the Valerie Beston grant at the Royal College of Art and in 2019 will have solo shows at Lily Brooke, London and Recent Activity, Birmingham.

Seaward lives and works in London, UK