PAPER #38: The Surface of Things

Press Release: Tuesday 13 June 2017


PAPER #38: The Surface of Things

An exhibition of Abstract Painting as part of the Manifest Arts Festival 2017

Lisa Denyer / Frances Disley / EC / Brendan Fletcher / Roni Feldman / Jenny Hager / Sharon Hall / Vincent Hawkins / David Leapman / Mali Morris RA / Max Presneill

Exhibition dates: 1 July – 12 August 2017
Private View & Manifest Launch: Wednesday 5 July 2017, 5-8pm @ New Adelphi Gallery
Private View: Friday 7 July 2017, 6-9pm @ PAPER

 The exhibition is a collaboration between PAPER, Manchester and Durden & Ray, Los Angeles, and is hosted by University of Salford as part of the Manifest Arts Festival, a contemporary art biennial running from the 5th – 9th July 2017.

Manifest Arts Festival will feature over 30 events, exhibitions and workshops across venues in Manchester, Salford and Bolton. Amongst others, the exhibition features former John Moores Painting Prizewinner, David Leapman; Royal Academician, Mali Morris; and Liverpool Biennial Associate Artist, Frances Disley.

The Surface Of Things

In 1911 Piet Mondrian scribbled a note in his sketchbook, ‘The surface of things gives enjoyment; their interiority gives life’.  Mondrian had yet to paint a purely abstract painting in 1911 but his absorption of the work of Cezanne, Picasso and Braque that year led him inexorably towards a pure abstraction in the years that followed.  Mondrian, and the early abstract pioneers, Delauney, Kandinsky and Malevich et al rejected mimesis and a reproduction of the surface of things and sought meaning within or beyond the world of appearances.

It’s now over 100 years later and painters continue to explore the repertoire of forms, colours and gestures that mark out the lexicon of abstraction.  They are concerned with exploring both the surface and its painterly slurries and the meaning inscribed in those marks and traces.

They might well recognize the thoughts of another Modernist; the poet Wallace Stevens.  In his 1919 poem, Of the Surface of Things, Stevens noted how we progress from a prosaic understanding of the world and its simple taxonomies and move toward a more imaginative and creative abstract vision.  The artists in The Surface of Things demand as much.

The Surface of Things showcases the work of established, mid-career and emerging artists all of whom believe passionately in the capacity of abstraction to offer a purposeful means of examining the world and our relationships, our exteriority and interiority and meaning beneath and beyond the surface of things.

Address: PAPER, Unit 12 Mirabel Studios, 14-20 Mirabel Street, Manchester, M3 1PJ



PAPER #38: The Surface of Things

Exhibition dates: 1 July – 12 August 2017
Private View & Manifest Lunch: Wednesday 5 July 2017, 5-8pm @ New Adelphi Gallery, University of Salford, The Crescent, Salford, M5 4WT
Opening Times: 9am – 4pm, Monday – Friday
Private View @ PAPER: Friday 7 July, 6-9pm

Opening Times: 11am – 5pm every Saturday
PAPER Gallery, Mirabel Studios, 14-20 Mirabel Street, Manchester, M3 1PJ


Media Enquiries

For media enquiries and images contact Mike Chavez-Dawson email


PAPER is an artist-led, commercial gallery based in Manchester and represents a range of emerging and mid-career artists whose practice is based around the medium of paper, ranging from drawing, painting, printmaking, artist’s books, video, and performance. The gallery opened in August 2012 and has a regular programme of exhibitions, presenting the work of gallery artists as well as providing a platform for outside curatorial projects. In 2013 PAPER instigated an Artist-in-Residence programme, Exploring PAPER, and in 2015 a mentoring scheme for artists based in the North-West of England, funded by Arts Council England.

Directed by artist David Hancock, working alongside Sarah Boulter, Sara Jaspan, Andrea Cotton, Simon Woolham, and Mike Chavez-Dawson; PAPER has participated in four editions of The Manchester Contemporary (UK), as well as, Art Rotterdam 2016, Art on Paper (Brussels), Art Projects at London Art Fair 2015, 2016 and 2017 (UK), Art Copenhagen 2015 and 2016, Sluice Art Fair 2013 and 2015 (London), Supermarket (Stockholm), Project Space Collective at the Affordable Art Fair 2014 (Battersea), Exchange Rates (New York), and Kolner Liste 2015 (Cologne).

About Durden & Ray

Founded in 2009, Durden and Ray is comprised of 24 artist/curators who work together to create exhibition opportunities at their downtown Los Angeles gallery as well as in concert with artist groups and gallery spaces around the world. Durden and Ray concentrates on small, tightly curated group shows at the gallery, organized by the members, and hosts international artists as part of a commitment to global exchange and alternative networks. The Durden and Ray model expressly overlaps multiple strategies, including the commercial potential and visual identity of a gallery, the democratic structure of an artist group, the potential to create collaborative works of art in the manner of a collective, and the shared fiscal support of its programmes by group members and project partners similar to a non-profit organization. Durden and Ray is committed both to individual praxis and to shared aims of curatorial experimentation, visual research, and artistic exchange with international partners.



14-20 Mirabel Street, Manchester, M3 1PJ.