This summer France-Lise McGurn will present Sleepless, a site-specific exhibition of new, figurative paintings at Tate Britain exploring the experience of city life. This will be the latest in Tate Britain’s ongoing Art Now series of free exhibitions showcasing emerging talent and highlighting new developments in British art.
France-Lise McGurn (b.1983) is a Glasgow-based artist who predominantly works with painting and drawing to create fluid works that spill from the canvas onto the gallery walls, floors and ceilings. In her work McGurn draws on a collected archive of found imagery to create figurative installations which express notions of sexuality, ecstasy, loss and consciousness. For Sleepless, McGurn’s visual sources have included a book of ‘erotic aerobics’ as well as a 90s cult book celebrating a decade of a notorious night club in Ibiza.
Sleepless explores the experience of living in a city as one that is intimate and inherently sexual. The exhibition title itself evokes key themes in McGurn’s work, including partying, dreams, longing, motherhood and nostalgic popular culture, recalling the 1993 romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle. Working intuitively rather than through direct appropriation, McGurn’s uses swift brushstrokes, spontaneous lines and repeated marks to create loose associations about place and history, inviting viewers to conjure their own narratives. In 2018 she was commissioned to create a wall painting for Tate St Ives’s stairwell following a residency at the gallery. The resulting artwork, Collapsing New People, drew upon the town’s history as an artist’s colony and loosely visualised the gossip, anecdotes and parties that might have taken place there.
McGurn also incorporates video, sound and performance into her practice and runs a collaborative club night with Katie ‘Shambles’ Shannon in Glasgow called Daisies, in which artists and musicians are invited to contribute. She completed a BA (Hons) at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2005 and an MA at the Royal College of Art in 2012. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions including (X) A Fantasy, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2017), and Virginia Woolf, an exhibition inspired by her writings (2017-18) Tate St Ives, Pallant House, Chichester, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. In January 2020, McGurn will have a solo exhibition at Tramway, Glasgow.
Art Now is a series of free exhibitions at Tate Britain focusing on new and recent work by emerging artists. Since the 1990s, Art Now has recognized talent at its outset and provided a launching platform for artists who have gone on to become established figures on the international art scene. The series has recently included Joanna Piotrowska, Jesse Darling, Lisa Brice and Marguerite Humeau.
Art Now: France-Lise McGurn: Sleepless is curated by Zuzana Flaskova, Assistant Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art.