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Prosaic Mosaic: Group art show at Bloc celebrates 'great diversity' of painting

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'Attention to Detail' by Sean Williams.

From 22 to 26 October, Prosaic Mosaic will take over Bloc Projects on Eyre Street, showcasing an all-star cast on canvas. We asked co-curator Sean Williams to tell us more.

Tell us a bit about Prosaic Mosaic.

Prosaic Mosaic is a large group exhibition of painting to be held at Bloc Projects in Sheffield in October. It's a more ambitious version of 'Prosaic', a show we curated at The Coterie Gallery in Rotherham in May. We - Bryan Eccleshall, Katya Robin and Sean Williams - want to stage a survey of contemporary painting as well as celebrate its great diversity. It's also our aim to provide a platform for artists to meet each other and for emerging artists to exhibit alongside those who might be more established.

What's the significance of the name?

When we first thought of organising an exhibition we needed a working title. I (Sean) have a preference for flowery, poetic titles, whereas Bryan said he would rather have something more prosaic, which oddly sounds like it ought to mean something more lyrical than unromantic and commonplace. We thought it might make a good talking point as a title for a painting show.

Our working definition of painting as 'pigment on substrate' is a prosaic one. The salon style hanging of the show will look like a mosaic and that it happens to rhyme with 'prosaic' is fortunate.

Which artists taking part in the show are you most excited about?

All the artists have been invited because we feel they each have something unique to say and we want to demonstrate the variety of approaches, techniques and subject matter. It's exciting to bring wonderful artist to Sheffield, such as Helen Blake from Ireland and one of my own personal favourites, Edwin Aitken from London. Edwin makes semi-abstract work based on walks around Epping Forest. His use of colour and mark-making are something special.

As curators we are very passionate about painting

My other favourite is Sheffield's own Kate Whateley. Her work is more sculptural. She makes objects using hundreds of layers of paint and materials like thread and matchsticks. It's extraordinary artwork and we're very lucky an have to opportunity to show paintings by such talented artists.

Why does the show specifically concentrate on painting?

As curators we are very passionate about painting. Some people argue its demise but we feel it's never been healthier. It's so varied and accessible, and there's a warmth to artwork where viewers can see how it's been made.

The selected artists for this show are just very, very good at it. Despite the restrictions - a size limit of 50cm and the 'pigment on substrate' definition - Prosaic Mosaic will be a wildly diverse show, featuring photo-realist painting, hard-edged abstraction, paintings that are almost sculptures, and even a piece made from ground-up paracetamol.

Tell us about your favourite piece in the show.

It's probably Stephen Lowen's magnificent painting of a fried egg. It's both funny and melancholic and beautifully sums up 'prosaic painting'.

Sam Gregory

Prosaic Mosaic runs from 22 to 26 October at Bloc Projects. Entry is free.

by Sam Gregory (he/him)

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