British Abstract Painting in the Eighties

A one-day symposium

More Information

Symposium 2018

Symposium details

Date: 14th September 2018
Place: Herbert Museum and Art Gallery, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5QP

09:30 Registration

10:00 Welcome

10:10 David Ryan
Key Note Address

10:45 Tom Palin
To See or Not to See: Pareidolias and Abstract Painting

11:20 Comfort break

11:30 Maggie Ayliffe
The formal is political

12:05 Susan Liggett
The Role of Personal Experience in Abstract Painting: the changes in the work of three contemporary British painters from 1980’s to present day

12:40 Lunch break

13:10 Rebecca Fortnum
(Still) Resisting Amnesia: Feminism, Painting and the changing field for British women painters

13:45 David Sweet Abstraction and Pedagogy

14:15 Daniel Sturgis
Alan Uglow: From Britain to America

14:50 Comfort break

15:00 Zino Pece
Kenworth Moffett’s links with British Painters

15:35 Christopher McHugh
Sometimes a Good Idea - The Visuality of Language and the Linguistics of Painting

4:10 Drinks reception at the Lanchester Research Gallery

Symposium will be held at: (Red) Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5QP Drinks reception will be held at: (Blue) Lanchester Research Gallery, Graham Sutherland Building, Coventry University
Cost of this event is £30 for institutionally affiliated attendees and £20 for doctoral students and independent artists. This will cover refreshments and a buffet during the networking event. Tickets can be purchased online at After the symposium there will be a drinks reception from 16:30 – 20:00 in the Lanchester Gallery, which will offer an opportunity for attendees to see the exhibition that accompanies the symposium.

The keynote speach will be presented by David Ryan. Ryan is a visual artist and writer also actively involved in contemporary music. He studied at Liverpool and Lanchester (Coventry) Polytechnics, and also on a travelling German Scholarship to Hamburg, Lubeck and Berlin. He is currently reader in Fine Art at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

He has written on contemporary art for various journals such as Art Monthly, Artpress (Paris), Artreview, Contemporary Visual Arts, Modern Painters, Art papers (USA), and on music for Tempo, and Dissonanz (Switzerland). He has written also on, and collaborated with, numerous artists, including individual essays on Shirley Kaneda, Bernard Frize, Katharina Grosse, Robert Holyhead, John Riddy, Clem Crosby, Fabian Marcaccio, and many others, and his book Talking Painting - dialogues with Contemporary Abstract Artists featured many prominent painters from the 1990s (Routledge 2002). He also contributed to the exhibition Territorios Abstractos (2000, UNAM, Mexico City), the Tate exhibition catalogue Hybrids (2001), and more recently, for the 2013 Tate/Paul Mellon Centre Contemporary Painting in Context. Exhibitions have included British Abstract Painting (2001 Flowers), Crossing Abstraction 1 (2009, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin), After Image, (2013 Emerson Gallery, Berlin) and Crossing Abstraction 2 (2012, Kunsthaus Erfurt and Forum Konkrete Kunst, Erfurt). He was featured in Making Matters (Gallery A, Middlesbrough 2015), and Detail at the Usher Gallery, Lincoln. In 2015 he curated a large-scale exhibition Drawing Towards Sound looking at the relationship between drawing and musical notation at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich, and has also curated At the Point of Gesture (2013 Turps Gallery/ 2015 Wimbledon Space). Recent exhibitions have included June Mostra, (2016 British School at Rome) In Nomine Lucis (2017 Santa Maria Della Scala Museum, Siena), Ex-Roma, (2017 APT Gallery), Granular (2018 University of Greenwich) and Imagining Architecture (2018 IsdaT, Toulouse) co-curated with Benet Spencer. His work in music has been featured in numerous Festivals, including the Venice Biennale (2015) as well as numerous book chapters.

Cost: £30 for institutionally affiliated attendees, £20 for doctoral students and independent artists. This will cover refreshments and a buffet for the lunchtime networking event.


Feel free to get in touch if you wish to clarify or ask any other questions. Contact Matthew Macaulay at either:

Graham Sutherland Building
Coventry University
Cox St, Coventry CV1 5PH