Curator Barbara Howey writes: “The idea for this exhibition comes from meetings with artists and reading about artists who coincide in some way with my own painting concerns. These concerns are in process but are to do with how painting can critique its own history from the inside, from engaging with the painted surface. This exhibition will bring together painters who deal with issues of intertextuality in a variety of ways. That is, they open up the painted surface as a critical forum. This could involve taking images, or subject matter from different disciplines outside of painting - textiles, craft, photography or popular culture.

The artists that I have brought together use these intertextual strategies not as a stylistic device but to foreground more complex debates. These debates focus on the notion of the "decorative". This idea of the "decorative" has been used by each artist in different ways. For example, in terms of "masquerade" of "gender" or "identity" all these painters are engaged in strategies to shift or deconstruct modernist painting practice and propose alternatives, in a rich and diverse practice, which use figuration, semi-figurative ideas or abstraction.”

Sadie Murdoch (London). Her work deals with found images from interior design magazines, with surface interventions which question the notion of the decorative.
Henna Nadeem (London). Nadeem works with borrowed images and collage and gouache, recasting landscapes. These are only initially decorative effects, working on a number of levels.
Maggie Ayliffe (Wolverhampton). Her work interfaces between the "decorative" and the "feminine" and reconstructs modernity as "masquerade".

Barbara Howey (Norwich). The work uses borrowed images from film stills and textiles and is evocative of memory and desire. Howey is concerned with issues of the crafted surface.

Jo Bruton (London). Bruton examines issues of the "feminine" and the "decorative" in her work. Her paintings are formed from a pattern which had its origination in braids of hair but which have been transformed into mobile grids which enmesh the spectator in their optical webs.

Jacqueline Poncelet (London). Poncelet’s painting interfaces with crafting and textiles and references the look through strategies of "glancing".

David Mabb (London). Mabb’s paintings rework mass-produced copies of William Morris original fabrics, to introduce ideas emblematic of Modernism and project debates about art and culture into the present.

Rosa Lee (London). Lee’s painting interfaces with notions of the "decorative". The marks made on the painted surface are tiny and repetitive evoking stitching and interlacing whilst the overall composition seems to be in flux and sets the gaze in motion.