Jo Bruton

Senior lecturer in Fine Art

University of the Arts London


Jo Bruton is an artist and senior lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts. She studied at Exeter College of Art & Design and Chelsea College of Arts. She undertook fellowships at Kingston University and Winchester School of Art and her research has been supported by the AHRB. She recently won the Lorne Trust Scholarship Award for painting and is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.

Bruton has had major exhibitions at Matt’s gallery, London, Sadlers Wells, London and The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. Her work is featured in publications such as Le Moulin Rouge en Folies, Quand le cabaret le plus celebre du monde inspire les artistes by Francesco Rapazzini, Unframed, Practices and Politics of Womens Contemporary Painting, About Painting and Warped. Symposiums have included ‘Working Against the System’ at Gallery North Newcastle, which explored the contemporary debates around painting, and Painting As A Material Practice at Wolverhampton University. She is a member of the Subjectivity and Feminisms research group at Chelsea. Publications and Events such as The Performative Dinners provide a discursive platform for practice within the wider research community. For this she has produced and presented short films, performance, animation, text and drawing.

Research statement

Through the use of the decorative and subjectivity Jo Bruton’s research navigates a relationship with abstract painting. Extending notions of form and its context by evoking a narrative through the process of making. A female presence and the desire to act within and occupy that space are central to Bruton’s interrogation of contemporary painting practice and its reception.

The archive and spectacle of performance are a visual resource where information is reduced and flattened to become motifs for painting. These signs for environment and performer hold associations to time and place where the viewer is engaged with the act of looking and locating the subject. Recent paintings have used motifs of can-can dancers and ‘sharp-shooters’ alongside patterns inspired from research trips to Las Vegas. Bruton deploys hands-on processes to subvert and expand expectations of the surface of paintings. For example, beads are used to disrupt the surface and encourage the viewer to move around the work in order to negotiate its reflections.

Bruton has recently introduced wallpaper as both a subject and a strategy to expand beyond the edges of the frame to work directly within a given site. This ongoing investigation into the potential for painting to operate as installation is currently being developed towards a large-scale permanent installation at Charing Cross hospital, to be completed in 2018. Within the context of this research digital processes have been deployed to translate repeat pattern onto vinyl. Through the playful use of pattern, surface and material within the given architectural site, the work encourages movement. In this way, the installation animates both the space and the encounter of the artwork.

Selected Books & Publications

2016 Le Moulin Rouge en Folies, Quand le cabaret le plus celebre du monde
inspire les artistes by Francesco Rapazzini
2011 About Painting. With essays by Helen Baker & Barry Schwabsky
2007 E3 4RR Print Portfolio Matt’s Gallery London
2006 Chorus, to accompany the painting Capitaine Can-Can at Sadlers Wells,
Text Michèle Roberts. Published by Matt’s Gallery, London.
2005 Variety. De La Warr Pavilion. Bexhill-on-Sea.
2004 Unframed Practices and Politics of Women’s Contemporary Painting
Edited by Rosemary Betterton, Interviewed by Rosa Lee.
2002 “Walk slowly towards the light” Matt’s Gallery London, Text by Sacha Craddock.
2001 Warped: painting and the feminine, Angelrow Gallery, Nottingham. Text by Terry
2000 Please, 291 Gallery London, Text by Sacha Craddock.
1997 Silhouette, The Winchester Gallery Text by Rebecca Fortnum.