Curated by Poppy Greenham, this exhibition examines the ridiculous, yet beautiful state of modern culture and how it affects our perceptions of people and place.
Still Living brings together 6 artists who depict altered spaces, imagined landscapes or obscure the use of still life. Their observations are affected, their imagery heightened, a response to their environment, a methodology to the world around.
The impact of the digital age has changed how we view art. The saturation of websites, blogs and visual galleries often means that we see art digitally before we experience it in the ‘flesh’. Michael Staniak responds to this phenomenon by utilizing materials that are not classically associated with painting, producing results feeling closer to a manipulated digital print. In the History Suspended paintings Staniak looks at the romantic landscapes of Baroque painter Claude Lorrain and applies elements of his work, hybridizing them into an uninhabitable land that floats nowhere in a metaphorical virtual space.
Kate Jenkins works reference her knowledge of anatomy, physiology and medicine, tiny details of herbs and wild flowers are woven between faces or bones. Drawn with delicate fine lines the myriad of images are like lace, a tapestry of the internal/external world. These images speak of life and death and the implicit relationship of body and mind.
Ibell’s paintings deal with the search for absolutes in an absurd world, forming narratives that explore the dialogue between religion, spirituality and superstition, and the bearing these ideas have in contemporary society. His solitary figures, related only by their faceless anonymity (and occasional amputation), are situated within sparse, empty settings alluding to a dream space that is beholden only to the realm of human thought. Their ongoing search is met with silence and the hopelessness of their actions is amplified by the harsh emptiness of the surroundings.
Ross Taylor’s work engages with notions of the Impossible, as delicate, almost filigree pen marks battle against a blank sheet of paper, diligent repetition becomes a demonstration of one of the few ways immense or untenable projects may be eventually realised. Within these abstracted landscapes and natural forms, the persistent and repeated gestures of lines and shapes create environments that blend but never fully integrate; there is no sense of ‘wholeness’ or closure, but rather a constant witness to the attempt of representation and the incalculable beauty contained therein.
Fiona Boyd’s new work examines historical visual culture and the modern day ruin. The cultural afterlife of architectural ruins generates a perpetually renewed encounter with catastrophes of the recent past and apprehensions of the future. For every artefact from a Utopian society stands another from environmental disaster, industrial collapse, and the remanent of war. Boyd’s practice involves manipulating photographic imagery, using collage, drawing and painting techniques to assemble new images that both reference old meaning, while evoking a historical view for something that never specifically occurred.
Yuria Okamura creates subtle works on paper. She explores the duality of the physical and the metaphysical worlds through examining the relationships between geometry and figuration, the interior and the exterior, as well as perception and illusion of space. Through superimposing other visual references such as architecture, landscape and animal drawings, she hopes to evoke a sense or memory of meditative spaces within the viewer, rather than depicting a realistic representation of a particular place.