Tag Archives: painting

Jill Mulleady

The gallery Island in Brussels is showcasing work of artist Jill Mulleady in a solo show “El Dorado” until next Sunday. The artist, who used to be active in theatre, shows her latest work in this exhibition, replacing the canvas by iridescent plastic sheets and integrate painting in installations. 


After intending to become a theater director, she heads back to childhood favourite activity painting and attended the Chelsea College of Art. Her uncle was a painter and stimulated her to paint by giving her brushes with her name engraved on them when she was 8. She moved since her London solo show in 2011, “Painting rituals” (book published at Shelter press) where she still used white canvas but used it as a base for her spontaneous poetic brush strokes.

Wars, 2011 Oil on Canvas 160 x 170cm

Wars, 2011
Oil on Canvas
160 x 170cm




Her new work is cold, plastic but retains this poetic touch and outlandish feeling conveyed through her gesture. In an exhibition in Paris “Et dans une explosion de joie”, you see her brushstrokes adventuring outside the limits of the canvas on the walls, obeying only her personal rules, focussing on the process.


Better to go and see the exhibition for yourself on Chaussée de Wavre in Brussels, but hereunder a couple of pictures from the show, courtesy to Island gallery. She once again conceived the exhibition in situ creating a dialogue between the space and her work.




Island 155 chaussée de Wavre – 1050 Brussels

Jill Mulleady website.



Manor Grunewald – “I’m not a conceptual artist, I’m just a painter”

Manor is a true image collector or even just a collector, considering all the random objects you encounter in his studio. You arrive in the room, situated near a canal in the north of Ghent, and find floors and shelves full of images, old magazines and clippings of newspapers with amazing quotes.  When I asked him what his art was  about, he gave me the answer I wanted to hear: “I have no plans, I just collect, randomly, and then find a narrative”. Welcome to Manor Grunewald’s studio.

He hung a first painting for us composed of two canvases: “It even ‘sleeps’ you” and  “Operation for a nosebleed” which pictures a ‘history of warship’. I enjoy the calm and soothing way of painting the background of those two paintings that are simply linked by a black spot.

Manor is autodidact who trained on the streets. After four months of academy, he drops out and decides to continue without the cumbersome framework of art schools. Meanwhile since his teen years, he has painted some 1,000 walls “Graffiti is the first thing to become involved in nowadays if you are interested in painting – when you’re young that’s what you see on the streets”.

Why does Manor Grunewald paint? For the absurdity of it, emphasized by this world of photoshopping and digital photography, overwhelmed by pictures (which was the object of Ponyhof’s first curated exhibition). Why on earth would people continue to use such a slow and useless medium? I asked him then why using oil? “Because it dries so slow and you can easily rework it, unlike acrylic” says Manor while he stains his hands black from a fresh painting he hasn’t touched in two and a half weeks.

Funny thing is that I’m sure many conceptual-art advocates would be very enthused by Manor’s conceptual developments. But by talking for more than two seconds with him, you understand that he doesn’t care much about concepts. He offers experience to his viewer and refuses to impose concepts on them. People are often insecure to see what they want in art and always need “keys” to cling to.

So what is Manor’s work all about? “Just images, who cares about the meaning, it’s about narratives, like when you’re reading a book”. Manor likes to play with art history. We are all subject to the overflow of images, so what is left to do? Just collect them and play with them and try to make it interesting for the viewer. “To me it makes sense”.

The painting “Who will survive and what will be left of them?” (tagline from the Chain Saw Massacre) is dedicated to all artists. I asked why there is so often a layer of white on his paintings and he explained how when he uses texts or other very graphic elements, he uses such a white film to make it a painting.

He then takes out “Maybe you were satisfied but we weren’t”. How did he come up with it? No plans, just found this silver reflecting film and then decided to create a narrative around it. That’s what Manor means about narrative. He finds something like an image, a material, a quote and then plays with it and ends up creating a work. He doesn’t want to create stories and hand out keys to the viewer but just enable him/her to make up their own story in what they see, to confront them to watch something from a different angle.

“The works have to stand on their own” he says. As Kippenberger said, who cares how the works are hung, they can be stacked up on top of each other, if they are good they’ll stand out. And this is why Manor arranges his own pictures at his own exhibitions in his own way. For his next exhibition at Bozar he’ll use some crates to compose his space. He likes crates for they carry so much history. Stacking paintings on top of each other reminds him of photoshop and how you end up with windows on top of each other, except that painting does not exactly take the same amount of time…

Manor does not care about the perception of his viewers, in the sense that they are free to see what they want to in his work. It makes it much more interesting for him to know that each person will apply a different meaning or story behind the images he produces. His work shows it is more important to look, feel and ask yourself questions.

See more of his work on his website: http://www.manorgrunewald.com


Popular contemporary art often works like puzzles. People expect to get some hints, some information or explanation to “get” it. Once the viewer has worked out a little smart trick, he moves on to the next, satisfied to have “got” a visual pun. Ponyhof on the other hand, features works from artists that evoke more mystery, work with multi-faceted interpretations, which don’t require a key to “get” it. We are all about works that suggest, offer clues, but remain out of reach.

Peter Doig (2000- 2002) Gasthof zur Muldentalsperre

In his 1919 essay “Das Unheimliche”, Sigmund Freud discussed the concept of “uncanny” – literally translated into “unhomely” which explains how some objects or situations are both arousing some familiarity feelings and at the same time expressing oddity and strangeness. Uncanny scenes are in a way familiar, already thought or lived whilst they present eerie unnatural elements. This explains why some paintings create a paradoxical impression of attraction and repulsion, such as Peter Doig’s work – one of the most expensive living artists whose exhibitions at Tate Modern and Paris Musée d’Art Modern unexpectedly turned out being blockbusters.

Peter Doig (1994) Concrete Cabin

Peter Doig represents scenes that are almost artistic clichés (a boat on a lake, a house in the trees) but always with dismay and eeriness. He often dots his painting, uses dissonant ranges of colours, isolates his characters, chooses angles that transform the viewer into a voyeur…We look at those estranged scenes without grasping them, which forces us to use something of ourselves to understand them, enabled by the elements of familiarity. Doig’s talent is to able to both fulfil and disrupt expectations of beauty.

Celine Felga (2010) ‘Caga Libri’

Celine Felga’s work, one of the first two Ponyhof painters to be featured here,  is all about mystery. She often portrays individuals or groups but always reflecting solitude and introspection. By withholding any keys to read her ambiguous paintings, she challenges viewers in reading her intentions. Each painting is a composition inspired by one or several pictures, it has several meanings and interpretation which leaves the viewer free to decide on what he sees in her paintings. She stimulates the viewer’s visual senses by creating distance and feelings of dislocation in a place of accepted familiarity.

Nicolas van Kerckhove (2010) ‘Terrain vague’

Nicolas van Kerckhove is another Ponyhof painter that paints large scenes of uncanniness. He manages to create a tension to his composed landscapes by introducing both atmospheric and unearthly elements. The canvases are composed from images but he succeeds to overcome the danger of fixing a ready-made image by recreating a poetic world both familiar and daunting.

Paintings capturing uncanny scenes are to be experienced, not understood. They add an aesthetic ambivalence, without which those works would be less interesting. This is exactly the type of art that Ponyhof wants to promote. Instead of gimmicks designed to make people quickly reflect on some cultural or social ideas, we presents works that are to be experienced, to be unwearyingly looked at again and again, attracting the eye without ever completely revealing itself.

To see more and purchase works by Celine Felga, Nicolas van Kerckhove and other of our talented painters, go and visit our new website: www.ponyhofgallery.com