Visceral - Coates and Scarry's third annual collection of emerging and international artists opens at Gallery 8 on Thursday 9th February 2017, and running until 25th February.

In the first few months of each year, established international gallerists Coates and Scarry present a unique group show. The show seeks to provide opportunity, for emerging British artists, and for international artists who have never shown in the UK before (this year it’s American sculptor Jonathan Mess), and for both to have their works shown alongside established British artists. Visceral, which opens on the 9th of February at Gallery 8 on Duke Street, St James, is the third of these annual shows.

Featuring six artists, and co-curated by one of the artists, Mark Surridge, in Visceral Coates and Scarry have once again brought together a compelling and interesting range of artists and works with a common theme. All the artists are looking for new ways to create, to paint, from the reimagining and reforming of broken and treated ceramics, to the application of paint on paper, the re-creation, the innovative or non usual approach is all.

Curated in collaboration with guest curator and artist Mark Surridge, Visceral will contain works by Surridge, along with fellow artists Nina Royle, Laurence Owen, Vincent Hawkins, Jonathan Mess and Matthew David Smith.

These artists’ works encompass an abstract, rustic quality which allows them to mesh and complement each other, whilst at the same time bringing uniqueness from all angles to what promises to be an exciting and powerful show. From Jonathan Mess’ geological inspired pieces, titled Landfill, which pull together aspects of nature and synthesis into conglomerations akin to their namesake. Nina Royle’s abstracted works on hand sculpted gesso panels referencing weather, time and landscape.

Mark Surridge says “Art can sometimes hit hard, slap you around the face and take you by surprise. The raw power of a gestural brushstroke, the alchemy of mixing materials or the haptic manipulation of clay can make the experience of appreciating art more visceral, more real.”

He continues “Imagine a work of art as having a tone of voice, some voices may convey impact and immediacy while others are like whispers, as sensitive as litmus paper on the stain of human consciousness. The intuitive artist is working with internal logic mechanisms able to create works of art that have the ability to touch our heart-felt emotions and euphoric feelings. The act of looking is like an archaeological dig excavating, unpicking layer upon layer of visual material - a materiality to enliven the human senses.”

Mark Surridge lives in the Cornish countryside. His distinctive and individual work has been in numerous solo and mixed exhibitions. Surridge’s paintings suggest aspects of archaeology as the images appear half excavated in the paint, revealing hidden codes and syntaxes. Some of the canvases are divided into two parts, suggesting the passing of accumulated time or the movement of an ultra violet scanning device, searching for meaning.

Upon completion of her studies at UCL, Nina Royle spent two three-month-periods in Japan and India, studying woodblock painting and miniature painting respectively. She says her paintings ‘use observations related to landscape, weather and time, as a metaphor to communicate the process of painting and an understanding that human expression is intertwined with the physical world.’ Her small hand sculpted painted panels encompass a direct, material encounter with the physical world, coupled with an impression that these same encounters are fluid, fleeting and subject to change.

Laurence Owen’s work explores the phenomenological play between the representation of the psyche and the representation of the world, and how this can be expressed through art. Owen’s ceramics and paintings oscillate between external representation and introspective process both played-out in the construct and content of the resulting images.

Vincent Hawkins paints and draws with acrylic on canvas, cardboard and paper, and has recently begun making 3 dimensional pieces. He describes himself as working in an ‘improvisational’ way, not knowing the outcome of a piece until it’s there, in front of him. At the moment, he is pursuing a line of enquiry that goes against how he has worked before – a little dissatisfied with way the canvas "frames" or "windows", he says he has decided to become more interested in the forms he produces as objects in their own right, bringing them into the immediate environment, akin in many ways to a sculptor, even though his works remain paintings at heart.

Jonathan Mess creates experimental works using reclaimed ceramic materials. Art critic Daniel Kany writes, “Mess’ slabs usually act like the unruly child versions of paintings… Mess’ casual boldness is remarkable”. Sculptures are characterised by his experimental abstraction of clay. Referencing land, maps, strata, geology, and geography Mess uses discarded slop clay, cast-aside glazes and broken work to create forms that are transformed into unexpected material objects cut and sliced using a stone saw. He explores the weighty materiality of clay is explored in his sculptural ceramic works. This is his first show in the UK.

In contrast to the other artists in this group show, who generally take much inspiration for the work from the natural world, Matthew David Smith says his work is, on the whole ‘grounded in the man-made and the constant urban development and growth of our surroundings’. He explores visual form from the collision of urbanisation, design and technology. By using the material of paint, David-Smith’s paintings capture the manmade by formal painting methods, re-introducing expression and removing perfection.