Twilight is a catalyst for transformation. Its violet haze hints at the alter egos of familiar places, acting as a filter through which the real is made surreal. As day gives way to dusk, growing shadows promise the arrival of weirdness and primality under a blanket of darkness. James Freeman Gallery, London, explores this phenomenon with its newest exhibit, Nocturne, an effort that features the work of three contemporary artists – Lucy Glendinning, Simone Pellegrini and Suzanne Moxhay.
Lucy Glendinning’s feathered children speak to the physical manifestation of dreams. The sculptures’ uncanny forms represent the moment of return from a dreamlike state, in which the freedom afforded by limitless imagination is curtailed by awakening. Alternatively, Simone Pellegrini’s works are reminiscent of medieval visions on unfurled scrolls – relics from a lost culture. The artist renders dreamscapes from monoprints on parchment-like paper that is distressed with oil and coloured by hand to make the piece appear aged. The result is an illustration that is almost Lovecraftian in its obscurity and Dantean in its sombreness, depicting wanderers amongst arcane symbols and web-like structures. Pellegrini’s works connect to a more ominous feeling of being lost in the space between dreams and night, where unknowable apparitions dance in the periphery and behind one’s eyes.
Finally, Suzanne Moxhay’s photomontages portray derelict spaces that blur the distinction between the intangible and the corporeal. Moxhay draws from an archive of collected material that ranges from mid-century books to contemporary, found photographs. The images have sly variances in depth and texture, utilizing subtle incongruities of space to highlight the viewer’s construction of the scene, and its subsequent susceptibility to error. The dissonance between construction and realization parallels the imagining of settings and place both under the cover of sleep, and in the shades of dusk.
Moxhay was included in the 2015 Aesthetica Art Prize Longlist for Copse (2014), a work that brings forth questions of barriers, spaces and archival material. She notes: The imagined space of Copse is developed by combining fragments of collected imagery, ranging from photographs and prints in old magazines to painted elements. The “place” is not quite as believable as being real, having instead the quality of an empty film set. In the latest work, I have concentrated on interiors – spaces that in some way break down to reveal the outside.These arenas do not quite fit – it is sometimes unclear where the light is coming from, the angles of the rooms are awkward and shadows fall in the wrong places – these are clues to the construction of the image but also lend them a peculiar quality, familiar but also unsettling or uncanny. The resulting images invite the viewer to speculate on possible narratives within these alternative and captivating interiors, often suggesting an event that has just taken place or is about to happen.”
Nocturne is at James Freeman Gallery in Islington, London, from 5-28 October. Find out more at www.jamesfreemangallery.com.
1. Suzanne Moxhay, Copse (2014).