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Academics’ artistic alter egos present playful critique of painting in new exhibition

The Habsburgs How to PaintCoventry University academics Craig Barber and Andrew Spackman, otherwise known as artistic duo The Habsburgs, present a new exhibition at mac birmingham.

How to Paint, which is on show in the Terrace Gallery at the mac and which runs until 17 March, is a video and sound artwork which offers a playful critique of the act of painting.

The audio visual installation combines colour, composition, time and sound to portray the formal characteristics of the discipline as part of a humorous study of how people paint. The jocularity is intentional and the artists describe the videos which make up the piece as having a ‘quasi-minimalist slapstick’ aesthetic which with the use of overlapping sound works up friction between the individual elements and the way that the work operates as a whole.

Although dedicated to their craft, artists Craig Barber and Andrew Spackman take a light-hearted approach to their work as The Habsburgs. Both senior lecturers at Coventry School of Art and Design, the duo are gaining recognition within contemporary arts circles for their exploits outside the lecture theatres. They describe their alter egos as ‘inept’ artists whose endeavours are mostly misjudged, unfinished, and misshaped but fundamentally well-meaning.

Artist Andrew Spackman, one half of The Habsburgs and senior lecturer in Illustration and Graphics at Coventry School of Art and Design, said:

“As The Habsburgs, Craig and I are interested in creating art that avoids categorisation and is deliberately awkward – but in a fun way. We like to challenge, amuse and divert our audiences through our mischievous artistic adventures!”

How to Paint is on display in the Terrace Gallery, mac birmingham until Sunday 17 March 2013. The exhibition is free to attend and as part of its run The Habsburgs will also be giving a free talk in the Terrace Gallery at 1pm on Friday 1 March 2013.

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