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What Painting Knows was a panel discussion held at Wimbledon College of Arts on 21 January 2016. 

The discussion was hosted by Tom Cardwell and the invited speakers were Simon Burton, Kaye Donachie, Mark Fairnington and Nadine Feinson.

You can find biographies and downloadable details from the event below.

What Painting Knows – a panel discussion


Welcome to paintingresearch at Wimbledon’s first public event



Welcome: Zoë Mendelson, Pathway Leader (Acting) for BA Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon College of Arts

Introduction and event Chair: Tom Helyar-Cardwell

Panel: Simon Burton, Kaye Donachie, Mark Fairnington, Nadine Feinson



Simon Burton’s paintings explore the complexity, mystery and uncertainty of the individual’s experience in the modern world. His painting is always on a threshold, on an edge of realization; his works are instable and indirect in the way they are generated as well as the images themselves. This vulnerability of the image and the anxiety of its existence are at the core of his painting.


Simon Burton was born in 1973 in Yorkshire, England and currently lives and works in London. He studied as an undergraduate at The University of Brighton in 1992-95 and graduated with a Master's Degree in Painting from the Royal College of Art London in 1997.


Recent solo shows include 'Between cave and gate', ARTARY Gallery, Stuttgart (2012), Nowhere Men at Arch 402 Gallery, London (2011), Under the Sign of Saturn at Kookmin Gallery, Seoul (2007).

Recent group shows include: Contemporary British Drawing, Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, China, WET and DRY, Hastings, Rugby Collection 2015, Rugby Museum and Art Gallery, Opinion Makers 2, curated by LUBOMIROV-EASTON, London. His work has been collected widely, both in the UK and abroad. 



Tom Helyar-Cardwell uses painting as a means to explore the potential of objects to act as crossing points for successive layers of cultural and subcultural narrative.


Societies have always produced decorative objects as a focus for veneration or expression of belief. This current project focuses on the customised ‘battle jackets’ of heavy metal fans, garments that are visual expressions of contemporary subculture but which have roots in ancient traditions of symbolic decoration on clothing and skin.


Often a single item will contain multiple references, pointing to distinct image traditions that acquire new meaning with each cultural utterance. Other works combine apparently disparate references in a single image that places the components in imaginative dialogue with one another.


Tom Cardwell is currently a PhD researcher at CCW. Recent exhibitions include ‘Artefacts’, James Freeman Gallery, London (2015), ‘Fragmented Narration’, Estudio Lamina, Sao Paolo (2014) and ‘Faith Once More’, Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury (2014).



Mark Fairnington is a painter who lives and works in London. He is Reader in painting at Wimbledon College of Arts. His work has resulted principally from research projects with Museums and museum collections sustaining a visual examination of the idea and image of the specimen.


In 1998 the exhibition Heavier Than Air at the Imperial War Museum in London followed a two-year residency to research the Museum's archive and collections.

In 2000 Mark was awarded the Sargant Fellowship at the British School at Rome and in 2002 the Wellcome Trust funded a field trip to the rainforests of Belize, with the entomologist George McGavin, from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. A major exhibition of Mark’s work, Fabulous Beasts, was mounted at the Natural History Museum in 2004 and subsequent projects have involved the Horniman Museum and the Wellcome Collection.

Unnatural History, 2012, was a retrospective at the Mannheim Kunstverein in Germany. Farmington’s most recent solo exhibition Collected and Possessed is at the Horniman Museum in London, finishing on 24 January 2016.


Nadine Feinson’s practice includes painting, painting installation and text work.  She also collaborates with SPV Ltd, which enact transactions incorporating exchange, currency and service. Her research is preoccupied with the materiality of painting and the mechanics of image formation through mark and gesture. Her work starts from a proposition that painting is a medium of potential motion despite apparent fixity.

Feinson lives and works in London and the south coast and studied at the Royal College of Art (MPhil), at Goldsmiths College (MFA) and the University of Brighton (BA) and is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Painting at the University of Brighton.  She exhibits in the UK and abroad and her work is represented in several international collections.  Recent exhibitions include Surface to Air and Dirty Pop at &Model Gallery, Leeds; Riff/Rift at Baltic39, Newcastle; Material Tension at Collyer Bristow Gallery and Surface Value at James Freeman Gallery, London.



Kaye Donachie was born in Glasgow, and currently lives and works in London. She studied at the Royal College of Art and the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin. Her modest-sized, figurative paintings make use of figurative imagery relating to modernism, domesticity, longing, and utopian counter-cultural movements.

Donachie is represented by Maureen Paley, and recent solo exhibitions include: Behind her eyelids she sees something, Ribot Gallery, Milan;
Dearest…,The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, USA. Two-person and group exhibitions include Mademoiselle Albertine est partie!, (un mural, des tableaux), Frac Île‑de‑France Le Plateau, Paris (2015), Portraits of Solitude, Hernan Bas & Kaye Donachie, De la Cruz Collection Project Space, Miami, Florida (2014), Meshes of the Afternoon, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, A general history of labyrinths, galerie crèvecœur, Paris and Birds, Beasts and Flowers, Galerie Zink, Berlin (2013).



This event is chaired and facilitated by Tom Helyar-Cardwell with the support and orchestration of Zoë Mendelson and Geraint Evans at Wimbledon College of Arts. 


paintingresearch at Wimbledon College of Arts is committed to conversation and exposition of painting led research. To keep in the loop with our upcoming events and exhibitions please visit

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