Cayetano Sanz de Santamaria, Gus Monday, Shane Berkery, Julian Lombardi and Danny Leyland

16 – 20 January 2024

Private View: Tuesday 16th January 2024, 6-9pm

An exhibition presented by an international group of students currently studying on the Royal College of Art’s Painting programme (2023-2024). A group involving students from Colombia, South Africa, the United States, Ireland & Japan, and the UK.  

The promise of the painter is to offer to the audience an opportunity to experience new realities. 

All paintings are illusory and all painters are illusionists.

As the artist R. B. Kitaj wrote;
‘’Mystics are said to discover a new world, very different from our familiar one and that is very much one of the things I hope a painting can do in its unlikely correspondences and citations based on sensation.’’ In this way the painter can be said to act in the way of a ‘Peraklit’, an interpreter of heavenly truths, an intercessor charged with the revelation of things still veiled.   

The potential for the visionary promise to fail, whether it be a promise of paradise or apocalyptic destruction, does not completely erase the thrill of the believer. This is not because people secretly enjoy being deceived by others, it is because the act of faith leads to the state of faith itself. In other words, it takes a mental shift, a certain effort of self will, to open and lay bare the auditorium of the imagination in order for it to be receptive to the marvellous illusion – to something like the divine spark, whether it be in art or music or performance.

Cayetano Sanz de Santamaria (Colombian, born 1997) graduated from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY in 2021 with High Honours. He is based in London, where he is currently completing his MA at the Royal College of Art. Throughout his career, he has participated in different exhibitions and projects. Highlights include the silent auction of the Association of Friends of the National Museum of Bogotá with the most bided artwork The Lord of light (2022), a solo exhibition in Galeria La Localidad, a prize of the Colombian news channel Caracol TV to produce exclusive prints, the elaboration of drawings for the production of Corona/Homecenter crockery, winner of the Tagsmart award at The Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair (UK) and several group exhibitions in London, UK.

Julian Lombardi (b. 1996 Philadelphia, USA) is an Italian-American artist. Lombardi creates both physical and digital works that explore the depths of the subconscious mind and its relationship with the complicated present. His works seek to provoke contemplation on complex aspects of the human experience, from sensations of desire and confusion to the ever-present challenges of misinformation, conspiracy, and mental illness. Through a carefully constructed visual language, Lombardi aims to contribute to a dialogue that navigates the nuanced landscapes of contemporary life, all while exploring the intricate recesses of the unconscious mind. Lombardi’s vibrant and dynamic pieces reflect a deep understanding of the alchemy of painting and the ancient practices that happen when working with physical materials. His work ranges from large-scale oil paintings to mixed media lightscapes and sculptures that challenge and inspire viewers to explore the deeper meaning behind his works.

Danny Leyland graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2016 (BA Painting). Leyland has exhibited internationally, in Australia, India, and the UK, with highlights including RSA New Contemporaries (2017), EMBASSY gallery (2018), and Edinburgh Art Festival with Arusha Gallery (2021). Alongside producing his own work, Leyland directed Vine Box Poetry, a poetry-led event platform in Edinburgh, with funding from the Hope Scott Trust and Scottish Book Trust. Most recently Leyland has been a two-time awardee of the Elizabeth Greenshields Grant (2021, 2023). Since 2015 Leyland has also continued to work collaboratively with artist and curator Connie Hurley. Leyland currently lives and works in London, UK.

Shane Keisuke Berkery (b. 1992) is a contemporary figurative painter represented by the Molesworth gallery and is currently enrolled in MA Painting at the Royal College of Art. He has been a practicing artist since graduating the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, in 2015 and has exhibited work extensively and internationally, receiving the preeminent Hennessy-Craig award (2016) from the Royal Hibernian Academy and having work secured in the Irish state collection. He has held 5 solo exhibitions, including one in New York, and his work has been featured in esteemed institutions such as the National gallery of Ireland (2019), the Saatchi gallery in London (2018), and the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in Wisconsin (2019). Most recently, in summer 2023 he presented 6 works in a group exhibition in Los Angeles, and his work was published in Seed, J. (2023) More Disruption. Schiffer Publishing.

Gus Monday (b. 2000 London, United Kingdom) is a British, South African painter based in London. He completed a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at The City and Guilds of London Art School, having been nominated and shortlisted for both the The HARI Art Prize (2023) and the New Blood Emerging Artist Prize (2023). Currently he is completing his MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art.