in London / United Kingdom
22.07.2020 - 12.09.2020 00:00
The Same For Everyone

Taking a cue from Nathan Coley’s seminal text work, currently on display in London as part of ‘Sculpture in The City’, Parafin’s summer programme creates a series of shifting dialogues and encounters between works by the artists the gallery represents. Coley’s work highlights the ambiguity of language, and can be read as a statement of fact, an exhortation, a critique or even a lament, and this series of staged encounters will be similarly open. Multiple potential meanings are produced by changing contexts. Every week a different group of works will be placed ‘in focus’ in the front part of the gallery’s main space, while the rest of the gallery will be given over to an ongoing group hang.

Week 1: Tim Head and Melanie Smith

The first encounter is between a group of Melanie Smith’s ‘diagram paintings’ and Tim Head’s seminal 1980s painting, “Frozen Planet” (1988). In these works Head and Smith explore the role of information in shaping (and perhaps distorting) our world views. Smith’s paintings present anonymous diagrams shorn of all data referents and Head’s work utilises satellite imaging of the oceans. Lacking any context, the images become abstracted yet also ominous.

Tim Head studied with Richard Hamilton and Ian Stephenson at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1965-69 and then with Barry Flanagan at St Martin’s in London 1969-70. In 1968 he spent time in New York working as assistant to Claes Oldenburg and met leading figures in the Conceptual Art movement, including Robert Smithson and Sol Lewitt. In 1971 he worked as an assistant to Robert Morris for his exhibition at the Tate Gallery.

Head first came to prominence in the early 1970s with a series of ground-breaking installations at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1972) and the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1974) and participation in important group shows including the 8th Paris Biennale, Musée D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973), ‘Arte Inglese Oggi’, Palazzo Reale, Milan (1976) and Documenta 6, Kassel (1977). Head represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennial in 1980 and won the John Moores Painting Prize in 1987.

Recent solo exhibitions include Parafin, London (2014), Modern Art Oxford (2013), Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2010) and Huddersfield Art Gallery (2009. Recent important group exhibitions include ‘Pioneers of Pop’, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (2017), ‘Post Pop: East Meets West’, Saatchi Gallery, London (2014), ‘Between Spaces’, Centro de Arte Moderna, Fundaçño Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2012), ‘The Indiscipline of Painting’, Tate St Ives, (2011) and ‘Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Post Modernism’, V&A, London (2011). Head’s work is in important international collections including Tate, London, Arts Council Collection, London, British Museum, London and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York. From 1971 to 2011 Head was an influential teacher at both Goldsmiths and the Slade in London.

Melanie Smith (born 1965) lives and works in London and Mexico City. In 2011 she represented Mexico at the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Farce and Artifice’, MACBA, Barcelona (2018), MUAC, Mexico City (2019) and Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico (2019), Milton Keynes Gallery (2014), Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania (2014) and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014). Recent group exhibitions include Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019), the Liverpool Biennial (2018), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, (2016), and Kunstmuseum Bern (2016) amongst many others. Her work is in many important international collections including Tate, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, MACBA, Barcelona, IVAM, Valencia, Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zurich, La Coleccion Jumex, Mexico City and the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami.

Gallery hours Wed-Sat 12 – 4 pm
Choose appointment


18 Woodstock Street
W1C 2AL London
United Kingdom


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