A reading list accompanies this exhibition, and it includes names like Merleau-Ponty, Woolf, Hawking, and Berger. Pavlou explains in the handout that these are important to her thinking about painting, as are her own essays (not provided) and bullet point “Notes and Thoughts Around Things” on “the morphology of peripheral vision” and the meaning manifest outside of things.
This sounds silly but such a project is core to all art and Pavlou’s inquiry has a consistent internal logic. But what it has to do with the paintings – abstractions whose palettes and brushstrokes are so out of scale that they may as well be military camouflage – is left unexplained. Some clues come from the show’s odd elements: a shaky pencil drawing of a spider, black-and-white photographs of people in a museum, and one canvas that in contrast with the others is nearly monochrome.
But this is at once not enough and far too much. In this game of aesthetic cognition, the idea which survives is of the artist thinking. That’s no bad thing but it’s a pity that Pavlou’s viewers are not afforded the same pleasure.