John Chilver and Daniel Pettitt
‘Coat Heel Throat’
3 November – 2 December 2023
Coat Heel Throat is an exhibition that curates pairs of new paintings by John Chilver and Daniel Pettitt. Adapting its title from ‘A Coat,’ a 1914 poem by William Butler Yeats, where the titular garment seems to be a metaphor for style. Yeats’ verse suggests that styles, like coats, can be woven and embroidered; cherished, disowned or stolen – among other things.
In their different painterly turns of phrase, John Chilver and Daniel Pettitt share an open attitude to the material processes of the medium – with its richness of association and allusion – and a fascination with the emergence of text in painting. For both artists, text disrupts the unity of visual experience and recasts the relations between the visible and the sayable, introducing spectres of secure meaning, which the images render as something akin to unreliable narrators. In their work, style is simultaneously active and passive: a conscious drive towards a chosen idiom and a succumbing to a moment of affective possibility. In paintings here that don’t use text, colour relationships are crucial, together with a playfully questioning attitude to genres – such as lyrical abstraction for Pettitt; portraits and landscape for Chilver. Local interventions in the interior of Recent Activity offer altered means of viewing and moving through the space, amplifying dialogues across both artists’ work.
Chilver and Pettitt have followed each other’s work closely over many years and have frequently collaborated on curatorial projects. Coat Heel Throat is the first time they have shown together in this manner.
John Chilver lives and works in London. Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include: Flank/Fathom, Borgholm CCAR, Borgholm, Sweden (2024); The Scene of Instruction, Coleman Projects, London (2021); The Near Abroads, Atlas House, Ipswich, (2019); John Chilver, Xero Kline and Coma, London (2018). His writings have appeared in Afterall, Art Monthly, Art Papers, Distinktion/ Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, Schizm, Spike Art, Starship and elsewhere.
Daniel Pettitt lives and works in London. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include: EJ Hauser, Bernadette Kerrigan, Chris Martin, Daniel Pettitt, KARST, Plymouth (2024); British Art At Albemarle, Paul Smith, 9 Albemarle Street, London, (2023); Cuckoo, Freelands Foundation, London (2023); Host & Guest / Nick Stewart & Friends, PALFREY, London (2022); A Generous Space, Hastings Contemporary, Hastings (2021); DARK LANTERN, Galerie Sabine Kunst, Munich (2019); Little Bouket, 49 West Princes St, Glasgow (2019), Granite and Rainbow, PALFREY, London (2019).