Estelle Thompson: White Lies

24 November 2014 – 15 January 2015


Private View 24 November 5-7pm


Curated by Charles Danby



White Lies is a partial survey of works produced by acclaimed British artist Estelle Thompson over the last 17 years. It brings together works on linen, aluminium, panel, and paper, and draws together central strands of her practice and lasting and recurrent obsessions within it. It draws from the wealth and richness of Thompson’s work, from chromatic monochromes, spatial block paintings, vertical stripe fuse paintings, geometrically divided and subdivided paintings, and cut paper collages. These final works, Thompson’s collages, some reduced to the size of postage stamps, have been a consistent part of her studio practice for over 10 years and are being shown publically for the first time.


White Lies takes its name from a late 1990s painting (White Lie, 1997), not in any literal sense of an untruth or half-truth, but instead as a way to speak of the pursuit towards an end. As part of this end Thompson’s works distance the hand and automate painting through use of rollers and mechanical processes. Yet within this automation and formal language of painting Thompson’s works are resistant and resilient. They remain firmly of and by the hand, and in them we see marks and workings, and the erasure and rubbing back of surfaces. 


In pursuit of an end the title White Lies perhaps also speaks of that which remains perpetual and active. Thompson works meticulously and towards ends that are rarely finite. Pieces are worked onto or worked away, and paint as material, colour, veil, and image assumes through this new edges, new forms, new mediations, new divisions, and new imaginings. They are visual architectures, at once functions of space and mechanical order, and at once of a lightness and touch that is weightless, transient, and alive. Thompson’s paintings fail to stand still or to stand quietly. They are instead lasting and durational statements towards an end, not of painting in and of itself, but more profoundly of its intersections with the world.



The exhibition is supported by the display of collection and architectural works by Estelle Thompson located across Glyndŵr University.Library: Red and Black Fuse (1990), White Fuse and Grid (1995) and Black Cut (1995-96). Catrin Finch Centre: Windows and Infinity(2000). Creative Industries Building: External facades and manifestations.



The exhibition includes a new text written by Charles Danby

available to download here:

(pdf format)


Charles Danby is an artist, writer, independent curator and a Lecturer at Northumbria University. He has previously shown works by Estelle Thompson in L’Après Moderne (2008) in Brussels and has written about her work for Miser & Now Magazine (2008). Other curated exhibitions include Grand National - Art from Britain (2010), Norway, and Animated Environments (2011-12), London.



Estelle Thompson is an artist and Professor at Glyndŵr University where she is Head of Media, Arts and Design. Her works are in collections including The British Museum, British Council and the Contemporary Arts Society. She has shown extensively including at Purdy Hicks, London, New Art Gallery, Walsall and Angel Row, Nottingham.


Estelle Thompson, Look At Me Now & Here I Am 2011, oil on panel 50 x 40 cm
Estelle Thompson, Provisional 2011, Oil on MDF panel, 55 x 40 x 5 cm
Installation view, from left: Being Here 2001, Oil on aluminium, 213 x 183cm, Wanderlust, 2000-1, Oil on aluminium, 150 x 210cm
Installation view of Estelle Thompson's exhibition White Lies at Oriel Sycharth Gallery, 2014