From Fragonard’s lavish Rococo masterpieces through to the surrealism of filmmaker Luis Buñuel, an interest in the history of painting and cinema are the two key touchstones in the work of London-based American artist Alexis Teplin. Yet, if this sounds in any way dry or academic, don’t be misled. Her contemporary practice consists of an energetic mix of theatricality, seduction, abstraction, movement, play, repulsion, absurdity and humour, exploring painting in an ‘expanded sense’. That is, expanding from wall-based works made of a tattered patchwork of canvas, strips of linen and blocks of dreamy colour, outwards into free-standing paintings, painted sculptures, pastiche performances featuring players draped in painted canvas, and video pieces that echo gestures, acts, brushwork and dialogue taken from painting and film.
The artist has exhibited extensively worldwide (including a celebrated contribution to the 20th Sydney Biennale in 2016), but her upcoming presentation at Bluecoat in Liverpool marks her largest UK solo exhibition to date. It’s My Pleasure to Participate will weave together all the different strands of Teplin’s approach in one immersive installation of painting, film and sculpture, including the debut of three new video pieces and four scheduled performances (26 Oct, 16 Nov, 7 Dec, 22 Feb, all at 2pm, free). The gallery has already shared an early glimpse on Instagram of a new large-scale mural taking over one of its walls in a style that seems more formally arranged and paired back than other examples of Teplin’s output. Will Teplin use the show as an opportunity to expand into further realms of experimentation? We’re excited to find out.