'Untitled See Saw Painting', Narbi Price

Double see saw with blue seal-shaped seats

2009, Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 120 cm

Artist's statement

On the way to the library to write this, I was sure I was going to see an empty packet of Space Raiders by the bus stop but all I found was an apple core and a green balloon, unblown. Laurie Anderson once said that novels are full of things happening but she wanted to write a novel about the spaces in-between, where nothing was happening. It takes a certain state of mind to choose a neutral object as your subject, to choose the mundane over the dramatic, the trivial exterior over the florid treasures of the inner world. On one level, there's a disavowal of the grandiose and histrionic; on another, a gentle subversion of the hierarchy of values that underpins our seeing.

In their carefully crafted blandness, Prices paintings signify the presence of a willingness to let the world speak for itself. The absence of human subjects and deliberate lack of narrative place the viewer in a uniquely familiar position - alone with the world as it is. The neutral object steers us between the poles of attraction and aversion, and confronts us with the ambiguity of the everyday - the places we inhabit while nothing's happening.

(Text by Nev Clay, originally published in part in 'Summer 2009' show catalogue, August 2009.)


Narbi Price was born in 1979 in Hartlepool. He attended Cleveland College of Art and Design 1998-99,Northumbria University 1999-2002 and Newcastle University 2008-10 (MFA). Group exhibitions include 'Fresh Art' Business Design Centre London 2002,'Northern Graduates' The Curwen and New Academy Gallery London 2003, 'Group Show' Newcastle Arts Centre Newcastle upon Tyne 2005, 'Quattro' Moot Hall Gallery Hexham 2008, 'PRINT' Mushroom Works Newcastle upon Tyne 2009, 'Summer 2009 MFA Show' Hatton Gallery Newcastle upon Tyne and 'Laugh? I Nearly Bought One' Richard Ling Gallery Newcastle upon Tyne 2010. Narbi plays in the Newcastle-based bands Chippewa Falls and MeandthetwinS.