In Canto XIII of Dante’s Inferno, we enter a dark, pathless forest. Barely visible in the fading light is “foliage not green, but of a fusk colour; not branches smooth, but gnarled and intertangled.” As we continue into the peripheral corners of Dante’s darkened forest, it becomes clear that those poisonous branches, barren of fruit, are not trees, but rather limbs of figures once mortal. Fusk, or fuscus, is a long obsolete word denoting the brown hue of that which is lost to partial darkness. The word itself has become lost in our language, obfuscated by dense foliage and buried beneath several layers of linguistic sediment. Much like the hue of fusk, the work exhibited is retrieved from the past; images that appear through a haze, and fragmented tableaux of an obscured and illusory world. Past moments rest in the soft brown haze of dimly lit corners, where peripheral figures and objects can be faintly traced. They are collected and stored under faded light, recovered from a place that once seemed irretrievably lost to darkness.
Bryony Hillman is a London-born painter and raconteur. Depicting exaggerations of her own life, her work is fastened between the moment passed and a moment implausible. The paintings are tableau-esque, enlivened by disturbances and tensions in an amalgamation of painting and theatre. She collects wooden panels to paint on. These tired surfaces are scored and knotted by their past. Hillman builds onto these panels with images from her own past. They are illusive and obscure displays: clipped fragmentations of the ‘bigger picture.’ The spectacle of the image is suspended above an outmoded stage from an unknown time. Toying with the unknown, she withholds almost all details. @bryonyhillman
Rebecca Willing is a Jersey-born artist living and working in London. At the core of her work is a process of mark making and an obsessive layering of intention and impulse. Following this process, her paintings undergo multiple metamorphosise: from free scratches to refined drawings; abstractions and spontaneous brushstrokes. Willing varies her intentionality in each of these stages of evolution, stepping in and out as marks are layered and the image is slowly transformed. This layering does not follow a predetermined formula – some of her images begin with silhouettes from her personal archive collection, and others are translated from fiction and poetry. Often, the marks themselves cultivate the image into being. The image is refined, then once again released. Whilst we may not be able to trace the evolution of the images ourselves, remnants of early sediment poke through the canvas in pockets of energy and ephemeral flashes. @rebecca__willing
BRYONY HILLMAN & REBECCA WILLING ‘FUSK’ Private View, THU 16th December 6-9pm Exhibition continues Friday 17th December – Tuesday 21st December 12-6pm daily USUALBUSINESS.CO
This is the second exhibition by USUAL BUSINESS, under a programme of regular showings by emerging and under-represented artists within and around London.