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MERLIN JAMES6 June - 10 August 2013

Merlin James

Merlin James, Effet de Lune, 2011 Acrylic on canvas 47 x 62.5 cm (18½ x 24¾ in) Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York © Merlin James

Merlin James

Merlin James, Harbour, 2011, Acrylic on polyester, wood frame, 38 x 74 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York © Merlin James

Merlin James

Merlin James, Signal Box, 2004 - 2007, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 57 cm, Courtesy of the artist, Mummery + Schnelle, London, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York © Merlin James


Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents the work of Welsh painter Merlin James from 6 June to 10 August 2013, focusing on a selection of works from his early career in the 1980s to the present. This will be the artist’s first major solo exhibition in a London institution.

James’ somewhat enigmatic paintings address a vast and eclectic range of subject matter and richly metaphoric imagery. What they frequently have in common is their modest scale, highly-considered composition and a seeming effortlessness of execution. James' works interrogate traditional approaches to painting, often actively integrating the physicality of the canvas and stretcher into the composition, as well as incorporating dust, glue or debris into the surface. James at times cuts holes in, or adds three-dimensional objects to, the work.

Although James’ draws on the 'golden age' of modern painting, and paintings by lesser known modern artists, to dwell excessively on James' sources would be to miss altogether the intensity of the viewing experience and the ensuing intellectual challenges his work offers.  

Born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1960, Merlin James studied in London at the Central School of Art and the Royal College of Art. He currently lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.

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The exhibition has been kindly supported by:

Belinda de Gaudemar

Berna and Tolga Tuglular


The paintings are studies of not only art, but possibly of the artist himself. It makes for a compelling, though gentle, glimpse into his mind. Timeout

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The results are poignant. Barry Schwabsky, The Nation

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