Humans do not have immortal souls. Desire and Death is what we are. Sex is revenge on death. And, desire a confrontation of mortality.
W K Lyhne’s 14 ft high paintings tower over the visitor; sex and death are on a confrontational scale. We feel at the mercy of a massive, predatory masked nude, uncomfortably close to a masturbating woman and unwilling onlookers at an abattoir, where a butcher is setting to work on a slaughtered ox. Depicted life size, we as viewers becomes participant and complicit in the scene, unable to tear ourselves away.
Celebrated restauranteur and Cock ‘n’ Bull Gallery owner Mark Hix is hosting this exhibition off-?site to accommodate the scale of the paintings. “The work of this painter is not for the faint-?hearted,” he says. “The paintings confront the big issues head on, and on imposing scale. The result is sexy, fleshy, political.”
Lyhne is currently completing a flayed ox for Hix’s restaurant, Hixter City. Her work boldly takes on the big questions: pain, fragility, ageing, sex and death. She both visually ‘earths’ us through imagery of trees and animals, which give comfort and succour in the face of our anxiety about ageing, and takes on our attempts to hide from death, make it and old age disappear, through disquieting, confrontational representations of the nude form. The women in her paintings are very much in control: they are the lure for the male gaze, but they give nothing back – their faces are turned away or hidden, so that they retain the power, rendering the onlooker as just that.
Art historian Dr Jacqueline Cockburn comments:
“Luscious, seeping, dripping paint. W K Lyhne’s work fearlessly confronts the Masters. Rembrandt, yes of course, but also Soutine, Bacon, Saville, Sherman too. And we, her audience, have nowhere to hide. She confronts us too. I am looking forward to the show.”
The Cock ‘n’ Bull Gallery values the platform it provides to young and aspiring artists. The HIX Award aims to offer a chance to current students and recent graduates to present their work to a wider audience. Judges of the award this year this year include Tracy Emin, Mark Hix and Ivan Massow.