Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Needle's Eye, New Court Gallery, Repton, Derbyshire

At New Court Gallery and Gallery No.1, Repton, Derbyshire
Curated by Ruth Solomons

Kim Baker
Louisa Chambers
Lisa McKendrick
Ben Walker

29th January-21st February 2013

The four artists presented here are all working with ideas of impossibility. Symbology, gesture, emotion and playfulness push each of their subject sources through the eye of a needle into works of vast connotation and visual richness.

Kim Baker's starting premise is that the magical beauty of an imagined garden is best interpreted instinctually. Organic forms act like a basic primal motive for the very human gestural processes which she employs. The original subject matter undergoes a kind of material and sensual transformation that transcends mere representation. Her approach is one of stopping to smell the roses, through purposeful and considered mark making intertwined with painterly accident.

Ben Walker's source material of the Holocaust and Nazism confounds an easy literal understanding due to its historical scale, weight, and overwhelming horror. Ben Walker's paintings strive to tell a bleak and emotional truth through the sparingly described surfaces of his coarse grained linen canvases. Abused bodies hollowed and shadowed from severe privations, and androgynous children barely discernible amid traces of abandoned landscapes, convey small details of the stark histories implied. It is through what is left out that the true meaning is understood.

Louisa Chambers paints impossible constructions of architectural and scientific authority imbued with dreamlike symbols and organic elements. She takes technology through the looking glass and transforms it into machines of our imagination. Louisa Chambers' paintings seem to offer ways through which to cope with a contemporary sense of conflict between our inner dream world and the daily imposition of robotic control on our lives.

Lisa McKendrick's paintings derive from a personal sense of psyche – intuitive symbology from an internal world of dreams and influenced by childhood memories of her Mexican heritage. Objects emptied of function crowd her paintings, unanchored against surreal luminous landscapes. Their clashing perspectives present opposing worlds existing at once: reality and illusion, the present and the past, the living and the dead.

Text by Ruth Solomons
Needle’s Eye is a touring exhibition previously shown at Transition Gallery, London and BayArt, Cardiff in 2012

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