19th January – 16th February Opening: Friday 18th January 6.00
Jessica Calnan, Naama Harpaz, Aly Helyer, Lisa Ivory, Tabitha Knight, Lee Maelzer, Rebecca Meanley, Howard Rogers, Matthew Stradling, Geraldine Swayne
Curated by Lee Maelzer
These painters take a dark look at the body and the mind - a conflict between the intellectual and the spiritual, with the corporeal and all that it suggests resulting at times in comically grotesque hybrid mutations. With silky, lumpen, dragged, caked or coaxed surfaces, the paint speaks of uncertainty, anxiety, aggression and delight - human landscapes expressing a luscious enjoyment of the flesh, along with an awareness and horror of its corruption.
'If it is true that there exists a realm, in the relations of soul and body, where cause and effect, determinism and expression still intersect in a web so dense that they actually form only one and the same movement which cannot be dissociated except after the fact.' Michel Foucault from Madness and Civilization
In Jessica Calnan’s paintings the viewer encounters an intimate happening between the human subject and its abstract shapes and colours. By reducing the strict rigorous formal elements, she allows room to examine the depth of the hues and the detail with a conscious ambiguity. Tabitha Knight’s paintings are raw and open, allowing the viewer access to her subconscious mind. Through doing so these images summon an immediate physical or emotional response, tapping into our primal nature. She challenges our perception of the human form through distortion and deformation. Geraldine Swayne’s paintings explore a psychic underworld to which we are obliged to become witnesses. The characters are uneasy, dis-eased, disturbed but often funny: the low light and tender rendering draws you in.
Naama Harpaz has painted a series in ‘homage’ to all bastards and liars. The mendacious cheats who dupe their wives, girlfriends, or even daughters…... The phallic nose shape is no accident as Pinocchio is made to suffer for the error of his ways. Aly Helyer seeks to capture fleeting impressions of the monsters and the gods that inhabit the unconscious, built up from our ancestral and shared cultural experiences. Her painting process is a mixture of conscious and unconscious decisions, chance happenings and stream of conscious episodes. She is interested in mythological figures, universal archetypes, alchemy, amorphous hybrid creatures, deities, bogey men, child gods, the iconic, the shadow, tricksters, voodoo……. primordial images that surface by night in our dreams. Lisa Ivory’s abject aberrations are exiles from a dark, unsettling sensibility. Her hybrids ask what it is to be human, with all our frailties; our Black Dogs and our disappointments. These dog-gnomes might be Everyman, trying to distract Death with a tense little dance, begging for scraps. They are digging for treasure and unearthing the turd. In Rebecca Meanley’s recent series of paintings, hairy scary creatures take up residence on their painterly ground. Made by painting wet into wet, impasto paint is built up, piled on top, as the persona of the lumpy form literally grows into existence. Sinister or playful, beautiful or ugly these little painted ‘creatures’ demand the attention of their viewer, causing conflict in the process of deciphering their true origin.
In recent works Matthew Stradling has been interested in depicting the 'fleshiness' of flesh through the fleshiness of paint. For him, the body, with all its textural fascinations, flaws, signs of aging and experience signify what it is to be human. ‘I see a beauty in the truth in its supposed 'ugliness', as though the sensual wrinkles and discolorations show a truly human response to our plight as finite existences on earth.’ From the depths of Lee Maelzer’s painting practice, which embraces disaster displacement and destruction, rise images of simple, uncorrupted male beauty. Howard Rogers has been painting the male nude for the past few years revisiting stories from myths and art, and trying to relocate the images into his world.
Lion and Lamb, 46 Fanshaw Street, Hoxton, London N1 6LG Open: Mon 1-11, Tues-Sat 12-11, Sun 12-10 Contact: Directors Peter A Jones: email@example.com Katrina Blannin: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.07866946631 www.lionandlambgallery.co.uk
The Lion and Lamb is a unique opportunity for painters to curate painting shows: perhaps visual essays or a kind of platform where artists can examine current practices in painting, take works from their usual contexts and experiment with new juxtapositions.