Jo McGonigal is staging this exhibition as part of her final examination for her practice-based PhD at the University of Leeds. Her research and practice examine painting and its relationship with architecture.
Her practice begins with a visual analysis of historical Baroque painting as a basis for understanding the medium as a complex spatial construction. These observations materialise into ‘spatial paintings’ constructed out of physical things in real space, where architectural concerns become complicit with the work. She uses both found and everyday materials, to examine the formal grammar of pictorial language – the vernacular of painting, where moments of drama, stillness, distance, translucency, edge and colour, co-operate to develop an understanding of painting as a retinal, physical and spatial event, activating the body as much as the eye.
She asks the viewer to gaze and take in its panoramic view, then focus, so the eyes remain in a perpetual state of unrest, moving from strong darks to light, zigzagging across, taking in different degrees of distance, strengthened opacity and the co existence of different details and segments of time.