Infinity Poison. Castor Projects, London UK. 2016.                  
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©2016 Studio : Derek Mainella London UK
© Derek Mainella Studio London UK
© Derek Mainella Studio London UK
© Derek Mainella Studio London UK
© Derek Mainella Studio London UK
© Derek Mainella Studio London UK
© Derek Mainella Studio London UK




We are pleased to announce Infinity Poison, a solo exhibition by Derek Mainella and the inaugural show in our new space. It will also mark Mainella’s first solo exhibition in London where he currently resides and his second solo show in the UK.

Infinity Poison forms a gesamtkunstwerk in which Mainella’s usual painting practice takes a more passive role as co-spectator in an environment that addresses issues of consumption, food production and waste through superficial mimesis. On entering the space our gaze is drawn to a video of a bonfire party, shot by the artist during a visit to his home city of Toronto in the summer of 2014, which provides the only true physical light in the exhibition. The video captures the frivolous nature of youth culture, whilst simultaneously revealing their capacity for critique and invention.

The paintings lit by the artificial glow from this single channel become an extension of those figures sat by the fire in the video, in doing so they expand the virtual loop of the monitor to that of the physical space of the gallery. The viewer becomes complicit in the actions of the video, torn between a shared moment over the flickering
flames and that of wider environmental repercussions.

Mainella’s paintings composed primarily in digital space, present a futuristic visage of varying sentiment depending on the viewer. Each painting a variant of itself, engaged with historical modernism with due reverence, but also as a possible novelty. Through Mainella’s pictures, our connection to the simplified form of the face usurps the need for outstretched art rhetoric, while the significance shifts here from that of the fetishized art object to the paintings acting as allegorical forms in the setting.

Castor Projects is a London based gallery working with emerging and interdisciplinary artists, with a particular focus on enabling ambitious and site responsive exhibitions.

Derek Mainella: Infinity Poison  8 — 30 January 2016

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New PPL. White Wizard, Liverpool UK. 2015. Curated by Dave Evans                  
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© D. Mainella, courtesy D Mainella, White Wizard UK

© D. Mainella, courtesy D Mainella, White Wizard UK

courtesy D. Mainella ©, White Wizard UK

© D. Mainella, courtesy D Mainella, White Wizard UK

© D. Mainella, courtesy D Mainella, White Wizard UK

© D. Mainella, courtesy D Mainella, White Wizard UK

© D. Mainella, courtesy D Mainella, White Wizard UK

Derek Mainella / NEW PPL

White Wizard is excited to present new paintings by Derek Mainella as the inaugural show in our new space.

Mainella’s paintings occupy the pervasive overlap between the digital and the physical. His primary visual research consists of blends and gestural marks made in Doodle Buddy ™, an iPhone app, and Photoshop, which are then painstakingly translated onto canvas. The canvas is finally cut or taped in a cathartic act that at once opens up the surface and completes the process. 

The paintings draw attention to the different ways in which the hand functions during phases of the works creation. The prod and swipe of the finger on the multi functional device shifts to the ingrained multi functionality of the hand holding a tool, in this case the brush or knife. In the app, tools no longer extend the hand, the hand gestures towards a pictogram on a screen, a ‘thin’ interface connected to the cloud. In On "Apps and Elementary Forms of Interfacial Life: Object, Image, Superimposition", Benjamin Bratton discusses how this is already developing "beyond the alphanumeric machine of the keyboard and the semiotic machine of clickable icon" to fully gestural interfaces such as the Microsoft Kinect, where mediation "relies instead on the epiphlyogenetic wisdom of spatial-object navigation accumulated over millennia: waving, poking, dancing, stacking, peeling, throwing, etc." Is there a place here for the paintbrush?

But Mainella’s works do not cast judgements on technology, rather they highlight the tension between on-going, technified re-invention it allows and the basic human desire for stability. The ubiquity of the digital blend, with it’s frictionless mixing of colours, sits alongside the assertive physicality of the sliced canvas and it’s frame. The marks maybe remind us of confused emoticons, perhaps expressing the slipperiness of full spectrum digital dominance, and the ‘distancing’ of effect from the prod/swipe of the cause.


Text by Dave Evans.


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Google Hole. We Could Not Agree group show, Frieze week satellite exhibition, London UK 2014


© D Mainella studio London UK


Derek Mainella- Google Hole. Frieze Week satellite exhibition installation view Q-Park, Oxford Circus. London UK. We Could Not Agree
Derek Mainella- Google Hole. Frieze Week satellite exhibition installation view Q-Park, Oxford Circus. London UK. We Could Not Agree
Derek Mainella- Google Hole. Frieze Week satellite exhibition installation view Q-Park, Oxford Circus. London UK. We Could Not Agree
Derek Mainella- Google Hole. Frieze Week satellite exhibition installation view Q-Park, Oxford Circus. London UK. We Could Not Agree


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Van Gogh Seer. Neubacher Shor Contemporary. Toronto, Canada. 2012


© D Mainella studio London. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo

© D Mainella studio London UK. Walter Willems photo


Derek Mainella / Van Gogh Seer / Van Gogh's Ear

We are pleased to announce the first solo show of Derek Mainella’s new paintings at Neubacher Shor Contemporary.

If we think about one of Van Gogh’s most realistic and contemplative paintings The Potato Eaters, and contrast it with his vast catalogue of later works, this can help to emphasize the great era of expressiveness and complexity that followed. Similarly for this- Mainella’s first solo show since breaking from pure figuration, the artist has enjoyed a marked freedom from the dark, studied works of the past which like the Van Gogh picture, represent an essential period in his early career. We can see in the new pictures however, a tenuous link to the technical concerns of the earlier work- though now rendered with much more immediacy, and in a unique, cursive voice. Thus providing for the artist a singularly styled output that directs reality into a new breadth of format and commentary.

The act of looking back to Van Gogh- one of his childhood favourite artists, provided for Mainella (if not a stylistic or formal influence) the mood in which these paintings were to be created. Produced in a state of self-induced reclusion, sleep-deprivation and the slightly unhinged reality inherent to such conditions, these works seek to render things unseen in the world, or to intensify that which may surround us. Nostalgia, remote observation and detachment, bring forth the real and unreal; that which may be intensely saturated, or passed over, lost in obscurity, or even misunderstood, that exists in parallel to our normal experience.

The East Gallery will house colour field paintings, as a direct homage to another Van Gogh picture and one of the most mythical paintings of all time, Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear. If we search “Van Gogh’s ear” on the Internet, the most popular result is this most significant work which illustrates the now-historical plight of the most modern of artists. Mr. Mainella’s aptly titled paintings represent extrapolations from the original masterwork.


Installation photos by Walter Willems.


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