‘With GO FIGURE, I wanted to show that there are such young talented painters who can re-invigorate the classical subject of figurative painting and evolve it with the times, using their skills and great talent to show the subject is still relevant in the contemporary art scene.’
Curator Roxie Warder.
GO FIGURE, an exhibition curated by Roxie Warder, brings together six young UK based artists working predominately with the human form. The work on display overlaps in various thematic and formalistic ways, challenging the conventions of figurative painting. GO FIGURE signifies how younger artists view the importance of the human form and how they adapt their work to the subject’s constant evolution.
Gabriella Boyd works mainly in oil and revolves around the merging of private and public spaces. She uses the form to enliven and manipulate a real, tangible ‘set’, creating intriguing relations and playful juxtapositions. The figures in her paintings bridge the gap between the shifting terrain of interior and exterior spaces. Her work explores voyeurism, particularly in the role of the spectator.
Luke Waller jumps into a young couple’s holiday snap shots. Painted in an ethereal and nostalgic haze, he becomes part of a personal interaction between the pair. Waller’s tightly composed paintings on paper manage to hold the expressiveness of the work, despite the intimate size. The frames almost encroach on the subject’s space.
Alice McCabe’s work seemingly breaks out of the frame. The watercolours appear (to want) to seep into nearby sections, yet are held back by colourful barriers and twisted figures. The apparently genderless ‘beings’ are engulfed by their surroundings and mostly solitary, echoing a feeling of loneliness. McCabe’s work continues off the canvas with her artistic vocabulary encompassing performance, painting and sculpture.
Kate Lyddon’s more recent work has taken the form of painted sculptures. She creates glossy totems which seem in a constant state of transformation, linking/bridging to her large scale paintings where shape shifting figures play on the canvas. Echoing Francis Bacon mixed with Disney, dark and comical. The work although construed through dark subject matter, has a light hearted and aesthetically pleasing outcome.
Simon Foxall’s background in painting informs his current multi-disciplinary work . Foxall explores themes such as cliché and stereotype, desire and sexuality, repression and concealment. He is particularly interested in the ways in which we form our relationship to culture through populist outlets such as entertainment. His recent series focuses on a hall of fame which includes portraits of TV and movie icons from period pieces such as Visconti movies, BBC dramas, queer film history and Hollywood mainstream. With an intention to reveal the personal in the popular, Foxall references the history of portrait painting by using the narratives attached as a tool to re-contextualise them as part of a wider body of work. The works become an exploration of devotion, idealism and a politicised sense of escapism.
Darrell Hawkins’s work embodies a world of colour, play, rhythm and abstraction. Hawkins’s work is the visual record of a collection of fragmented ideas from past and present. The elements happily collide in a world that is simultaneously organised and chaotic. Hawkins is a chronicler of contemporary life, similar to Grayson Perry, who he cites as an inspiration. Creating bizarre and playful figures that are wild in colour like Boyd and Lyddon, he creates a visual complexity in his work which keeps us looking.