Gareth Cadwallader

Gareth Cadwallader, Bath, 2015–16

Happy bathtub day! Take a deep breath; relax. Sink into the bubbles, let the day’s worries wash away. That’s what Gareth Cadwallader’s painting, simply titled Bath, seems to be telling us. The work is going on show this month as part of Slow Painting, billed as a collection of works by nineteen artists that “take their time, and invite us to do the same”. While some of the other works are more abstract, Cadwallader’s is beautifully simple in its directness. Crucially, there’s no tech here, that modern antithesis of all slowness: our subject reclines in the tub, reading a book, against an enviable view of clouds and rolling hills, not another person in sight. The medium feels deliberate: painting is a traditionally slow process, as is its viewing, asking us to take our time to absorb the multifarious meanings and components of an image. “There is something elemental in the act of painting that distinguishes it from the excess of images produced and consumed in contemporary life,” says Brian Cass, senior curator of Hayward Gallery Touring, which is putting on the show.