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About

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Narbi Price is a painter.

He is the winner of the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017, he was featured in Phaidon's Vitamin P3 - New Perspectives in Painting and was a prizewinner in the John Moores Painting Prize 2012.

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Catalogue text from VOLTA10, Basel 2014

"Narbi Price is interested in perceived histories of locations and how painting can question the understanding of architectural and pictorial space.

He is engaged with challenging the conventions of photographically derived painting in terms of paint application and composition, and in blurring the line between the figurative and the abstract.

The sites depicted in the exhibited works are derived from photographs taken on trips the artist has made, as a result of meticulous research, to very exact sites – places that have witnessed a range of events, from murders to whimsical acts that have spawned folklore.

There is no indication to the viewer of the depicted sites’ histories; there may be clues in the titling. Once the viewer is aware of the history of the depicted site, the reading of the painting changes irrevocably. Price invites rumination upon the contrast between the histories of any given site and the mundanity of the experience of it – an effect heightened by the mediation of the painting process.

Price’s work all has the same concern with the banality of the experience versus the potential deferential expectation of site; be that from a political, touristic or historical viewpoint. His use of disparate techniques and deliberately disharmonious compositions push the works to the point where they teeter on the edge of dissolution. His intention is to produce a subtly disorientating effect in the viewer – there is an awkwardness or sense of unease about the images, but it is not immediately obvious why."

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Writer, musician and poet Nev Clay wrote this for the John Moores Painting Prize 2012 catalogue.

"My socks were wet in my shoes when I saw Narbi’s new paintings last Wednesday, and my black woolly hat was soggy. I’d just come in from outside. From the window of the room he works in, it was somehow soothing to see the scruffy backsides of the buildings you normally only see from the street, particularly the rear of the now-closed Odeon cinema. Rain was still falling on that arrangement of brick, ceramic tiles, and weeds. I love stuff like that, and know Narbi does too.

I had some thoughts about his paintings, and then we talked, and then I had some other thoughts. Previously, I’d celebrated his choice of the neutral object, the one that neither attracts nor repels; and the act of rendering its mundane image with such precision and tenderness.
This time, his choice of object had been driven by something else.

I’m still thinking about Narbi’s pictures. And, I suppose, about that huge cinema screen hanging in the derelict dark, and all the films that were projected onto it – romantic films, comedies, kids’ films, horror films – none of which have left the slightest trace."

22nd April 2012

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