Curated by Charles Danby

White Lies is a partial survey of works produced by acclaimed British artist Estelle Thompson over the last 20 years. It brings together works on canvas, panel, and paper, and draws together central strands of her practice and lasting and recurrent obsessions within it. It draws from the wealth and richness of Thompson’s work, from early icon paintings, chromatic monochromes of sorts, spatial block paintings, vertical flicker stripe paintings, geometrically divided, subdivided and reflected paintings, pigment etchings, and cut and recut paper collages. These final works, Thompson’s collages, some reduced to the size of postage stamps, have been a consistent part of her studio practice for over 10 years and are being shown publically for the first time.

White Lies takes its name from a late 1990s painting (White Lie, 1997), not in any literal sense of an untruth or half-truth, but instead as a way to speak of the pursuit of an end and of a truth. Thompson’s truth is the materials she uses and her pursuit of an end is the processes she works with. Processes that appear to distance the hand and to automate painting, through use of rollers and mechanical print processes. But this is part of an agitation and unlocking of modernist agenda, of a paradoxical politic that on the one hand proposes contextual anonymity in production and on the other draws situation into that production. Within a heightened automation and formal language of painting Thompson’s works are resistant and resilient, remaining firmly of and by the hand. It is everywhere in the works, visible, palpable and resonant.

The exhibition is supported by the display of collection works across the campus. These include Red and Black Fuse (1990), White Fuse and Grid (1995) and Black Cut (1995-96) in the Edward Llwyd Centre and Infinity (2000) in the Catrin Finch Centre. She also designed the exterior wall cladding and manifestations for the Creative Industries Building and the glass curtain wall in the Catrin Finch Centre.

The Oriel Sycharth Gallery is open Mon – Fri 9am – 4.30pm and is situated above the main University Reception.


Tel: 01978 293950