February 5, 2008 - Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) - Callum Innes: From Memory
February 5, 2008

Callum Innes: From Memory

Callum Innes Untitled 2002
oil and shellac on canvas
Private collection
Copyright the artist

Callum Innes
From Memory

until 5 March 2008

140 George Street
The Rocks
Sydney, Australia


This summer the MCA presents the first solo show in Australia by Scottish painter Callum Innes, with a major exhibition from Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery.

Curated by Fruitmarket Gallery Director, Fiona Bradley, Callum Innes: From Memory brings together a diverse selection of paintings which trace the development of this acclaimed British artist.

Since the 1990s, Innes has emerged as one of the most single-minded and successful painters of his generation. His work has a visible presence at the forefront of the international art world, hanging in many prestigious public and private collections including the San Francisco MOMA and TATE Britain in London.

Innes explores the possibilities of paint on canvas. Seemingly simple to the eye, his works are a complex process of addition and subtraction. His paintings are created through the application and removal of paint – a systematic layering and dissolving that has come to typify his practice. He often paints a canvas in one colour before using turpentine to wipe away sections of paint from the surface. In short, he paints and ‘unpaints’ several times. The end result encapsulates this action: the paintings always bear traces of their chaotic production. Simultaneously, they are absorbingly calm
and authoritative.

Innes believes it is his manipulation of this painting process that gives his work its complex beauty. He says: ‘I know now how I want a painting to look, and how to achieve it: it has to have a rhythm, a natural rightness when things start to flow together. You have to edit – it’s not enough to rely on the process, though I always know what the process is doing.’

In 2002 Innes was awarded the Jerwood Painting Prize and in 1995 he was short-listed for the Turner Prize. He lives and works in Edinburgh, and it could be suggested that his paintings draw on the clarity of the light associated with his homeland.

The exhibition incorporates the ‘Exposed Paintings’ series, as well as the seminal ‘Monologues’ and ‘Identified Form’ paintings. Working in series, Innes has developed a unique painterly language. The exhibition can also be considered an installation – each work has been carefully placed in relation to the architecture of the space. The earliest work ‘From Memory’ 1989 lends its name to the show’s title.

Callum Innes: From Memory runs at the MCA from 11 December 2007 until 5 March 2008.

- Ends -

About the MCA: The MCA is the only museum in Australia dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and interpreting contemporary art from Australia and throughout the world. Located on one of Australia’s most iconic sites on Sydney’s West Circular Quay, it was voted by Sydney residents as their favourite museum or gallery in an independent poll conducted by the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, in March 2007.

The MCA is open 10am – 5pm. Open 7 days. Admission is free. www.mca.com.au

Kym Elphinstone, 02 9245 2434


The Museum of Contemporary Art is assisted by the NSW Government through ARTS NSW and by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

MCA | Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
Share - Callum Innes: From Memory
  • Share