American artist, Elizabeth Neel, focuses much of her work on the concepts of shifting familiarity and the nature of abstraction. At Pilar Corrias, she presents new visual studies in controlled chaos that perpetuate this interest: the theme of the psychological undercurrent and friction between the individual and their landscape, whether this is physical, ideological or emotional. She’s curious about the reality of something and the signifiers that stand for it. The exhibition showcases a collection of paintings and sculpture that play to this idea and playfully explore the concept.
Her paintings are intensely pigmented renderings of anonymous images via the Internet. Reflecting a real subject matter, Neel makes use of dominant primary colour and is liberally exuberant and brutal in her representation of the image. Her material recalls both bodily fluids and manufactured phenomena whilst at the same time calling into question the boundaries between a sign or model and the substance or conglomeration for which it stands. Shapes hover and move across the surface, interacting with pieces of tape places and torn away at points of tension. These pieces of tape appear to pull the image back onto the canvas and emphasise location, gravity and speed.
Neel’s sculptures reflect her paintings. They comment on brutality, utilising wood, steel, cast objects, clay and colour. Her interest in the notion of the ‘model’ and the ‘diagram’ here takes the form of a floor sculpture in which routes, relationships, scale, and material refer to the body and the environment in an exploration of meaning and analogy.
She creates organic shapes made from flat black painted plywood cut with a jigsaw that are derived from shapes in her paintings and couples these with cast objects such as domestic animal skulls. Other objects are attached to an L shaped steel bar to imply adornment and punctuation. These sculptures rely on shifting levels of familiarity to create a set of reverberating correspondences between the objects and the paintings in the exhibition.
Elizabeth Neel, The People, The Park, The Ornament, until 21 June, Pilar Corrias, 54 Eastcastle St, London, W1W 8EF, www.pilarcorrias.com
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1. Pagoda the Prairie (2014) Oil on canvas, 193 x 243.8 cm. Courtesy of Pilar Corrias Gallery London.