McLean Edwards, Rhys Lee, Fiona Lowry & Heather B. Swann
17.11.10 to 11.12.10
This group exhibition will showcase a range of works by McLean Edwards, Rhys Lee, Fiona Lowry and Heather B. Swann. Each of these artists display a poetic tension and curiosity within their work through their paintings, works on paper and sculpture.
McLean Edwards’ suite of autobiographical works on paper ‘The private archive of a distinguished gentleman episodes 1 – 49′ depict busy and playful snapshots of life experience. Edwards’ practice concentrates on the human figure – especially the history of portraiture. Stylistically his work can be compared to artists such as William Dobell and Russell Drysdale. Within these works there are allusions to European art history. Social realist traditions are exploited and given an absurdist slant and old ‘master paintings’ are subverted as the figures are often made to look impotent and ridiculous. His caricature-like portraits and scenarios have the ability to expose an essential somewhat ominous vulnerability of the human condition.
A focus on the figure is sustained in Rhys Lee’s works influenced by his continued experimentation with paint. His palette is often unorthodox with pastels contrasted with darker blacks and greys and a high level of spontaneity is conveyed via rapid brushwork. Often the central point of contact in his works – the eyes – dart out and simultaneously engage and disturb the viewer as Lee’s faces disappear yet also reveal themselves. Blended with an urban aesthetic, there is an almost heartbreaking attraction within Lee’s works.
The paintings by Fiona Lowry similarly create a diffused aesthetic via a unique airbrush technique. Lowry’s work communicates formal qualities of painting and beauty while also evoking a sense of impending doom or unease; creating an interesting tension. There is a seductive weightlessness to the effervescent application of paint in her work that offers a filtered disquiet. As the viewer’s focus becomes staggered, generating further intrigue and fascination into her mesmerising landscapes and unknown figures.
Heather B. Swann’s elegant works on paper and sculptures are at once figurative and abstract as animal and human hybrid imagery and form are expressed and refined, furthering this sense of disquiet. Handsome, carefully-finished and imbuing artisanal qualities, Swann’s sculptures have a charm and luxuriousness that calls to mind the furniture-creatures of Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne. However, these variously twisted and otherwise manipulated birds, beasts and bodies also have a darker quality, a dreamlike, surreal ambiguity, also echoed in her drawings.