Proserpina: Henry Baker and Preslav Kostov
Apiary Studios, 24-28 March 2022

Proserpina was an exhibition that placed into conversation the paintings and practices of Henry Baker and Preslav Kostov, at Apiary Studios in London’s Bethnal Green.

Many of the the works, produced whilst Baker and Kostov were  studying on the Painting MA programme at the Royal College of Art were presented for the first time. Viewers were invited to take in the rich dialogue between the two artists in an intimate setting.

Kostov and Baker adopted different, complementary palettes and approaches to representation and abstraction. Yet they shared a common concern with painting’s ability to speak directly and vigorously to its viewer, allowing for rich parallels to be drawn between their works. Their practice exposed their traces of production and figures with a remarkable frankness. The assertion of this openness was accompanied by further worlds, buried and protected within the layers of paint.

The psychological themes of chaos, destruction and rebirth exist under the confident exposure of these surfaces. Baker and Kostov’s works were here presented in a contemplative environment to allow for reflection on these themes. Visitors were encouraged to inhabit the space, taking the time they needed to draw connections between the works as they developed.

Viewers could wander, sit down and be led around the space by their intuition. Proserpina was intended to be a homely, comfortable environment that lended itself to vulnerability.