Running Mountains is a painting installation that Jo Bruton has developed whilst on the artist-residence program at HKBU. Her paintings explore a personal as well as formal narrative where boundaries are tested between painting and site and the decorative is used to disrupt a sense of stability.
In preparation for this residency Bruton made a series of wallpapers, which she brought with her to use as a ground for painting to capture the experience of the city and its visual culture. The journey between London and Hong Kong is important, as the portable nature of the ground is contingent with her ideas of painting as an environment to navigate. In this context the wallpaper acts as an immediate but mobile space to work with combining association with home and travel with the spectacle of discovery.
On arriving in the studio at HKBU she spent time finding the right configuration of wallpaper for the dimensions of the studio, using stepladders to work physically with form and its location. This period of time has produced a very specific relationship with space and its orientation a strong sense of verticality. Paintings work from ceiling to floor and include references to the islands that surround Hong Kong as well as fabric decoration. Not yet complete as a series of paintings once back in London she will continue to work with the many references, influences and visual ideas this opportunity has generated for her practice.
Running Mountains is a continuation of Bruton’s exploration into the space of painting, extending notions of form and its context by evoking narratives through the process of making. Fragments of decoration create an environment to navigate where a female presence and the desire to act within and occupy that space are central to her work.
Jo Bruton is an artist and senior lecturer in Fine Art. She studied at Exeter College of Art & Design and Chelsea College of Arts where she now teaches. She undertook fellowships at Kingston University and Winchester School of Art her and her research has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She recently won the Lorne Trust Scholarship and is represented by Matt’s Gallery, (London). Bruton has had major exhibitions at Matt’s Gallery, Sadlers Wells, (London) and The De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill-on-Sea). Her work is featured in publications such as: Le Moulin Rouge en Folies, Quand le cabaret le plus celebre du monde inspire les artistes by Francesco Rapazzini. ‘Unframed, Practices and Politics of Women’s Contemporary Painting’ edited by Rosemary Betterton and ‘About Painting’, with essays by Barry Schwabsky & Helen Baker. Her exhibition catalogues with accompanying texts include ‘Chorus’ Michèle Roberts. “Walk slowly towards the light” Sacha Craddock. ‘Warped Painting and the feminine’ Terry Myers and Silhouette Rebecca Fortnum.