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Mimei Thompson

Mimei Thompson - Installation Shot
Mimei Thompson at Trade Gallery
Installation view of Mimei Thompson's Paintings
Mimei Thompson Cave Paintings
Mimei Thompson - Dead Fly
Various Mimei Thompson Paintings
Mimei Thompson, Artist Talk

Mimei Thompson


9 August - 11 October


- Where did you start with the new paintings?


The insects are something that I have worked on before and shown before. 
I heard that the caterpillar goes through a liquid stage, making a cocoon around itself and then secreting juices, almost digesting itself and then it becomes something else. There is a stage in between where it has all of the information to become the mature version, but it is actually liquid, and I find that so amazing. 

And I think there is some analogy there with paint, there is potential in the liquid stage. And in my work it is a bit like that sometimes. It starts liquid and then it could become anything, like a primordial soup. 


- What materials do you use to make your paintings?


I use oil paints, and the surface is really important, and needs to be quite smooth, non-absorbent and white, and I want that whiteness to shine through. The paint and the medium is quite translucent, I can also build it up but that luminosity is one of the key things. 

I mix the oil paint with a medium, Liquin which is an alkyd resin. It dries very fast and holds the brush strokes in the oil paint. Whereas oil spreads, the quality of the Liquin is that it holds it together, so in a way it is more like acrylic. Slightly plastic like. 


- You trained as a photographer?


Yes, a long time ago.


- What happened?


With the photography, partly I wanted to have more of a touch involved. With photography there is more of a distance from the hand and the gesture. In the training I had it was quite taboo, the things you would do with a bit of intuition or gesture, none of that was really allowed. I started painting again, I did painting for A-level, but after my BA I felt like I didn't have so much baggage, with that not so many rules. 

Of course there is the weight of art history, but I didn't really feel that because I had been through this other education of conceptual photography which became too paralysing. After that I just made it up myself, talking to people and getting on with it for years, in an outsider-ish kind of way. 

I don't really feel like I have a lot of painterly references. I remember at the Royal College where I studied painting, people and tutors would say 'who is the artist who is sitting on your shoulder looking over you? which some people seemed to have, I never really had

that, just doing my own thing. 

Review :

“It’s the visibility of the brushwork that seems to invest even Thompson’s most mundane and everyday images with their decidedly alien, hallucinatory presence”

Mimei Thompson studied at Glasgow School of Art, Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. She was selected for Jerwood Contemporary Painters and the Marmite Painting Prize. Three of her works were bought for the Arts Council England Collection in 2013. She has recently had a solo show at Art First Projects, London, and has an upcoming solo show at Queens Park Railway Club, Glasgow. Recent group shows include exhibitions in Brussels, Los Angeles, London and Glasgow. She lives and works in London

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