All attention is an act of devotion, and patience is the pleasure of this touring exhibition of contemporary paintings. By Cal Revely-Calder
What do pictures want? Nothing, goes one answer; attention, goes another; and in between, from being ignored to being loved, is a reflection of every human hope. ‘Slow Painting’, a group show organized by Hayward Gallery Touring (and currently at Leeds Art Gallery), is concerned with how we look at pictures, and for how long; how they might represent ‘slowness’, or be seen to encourage it. In this, the show is as much about people as paint.
Intrigued by spectatorship, the curator Martin Herbert pretends for no greater coherence than humans possess themselves. He’s designed the show with latitude, choosing 19 contemporary painters and 59 of their works. Varda Caivano’s fields of broiling colour are unlike Carol Rhodes’s aerial landscapes, and it requires effort to have eyes for both – but all attention is an act of devotion, and part of the pleasure of this show is in not demanding a quick return.
Image: Varda Caivano, Untitled, 2018