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  1. Wealth
May 2, 2019

Review: New Mythologies, Huxley-Parlour Gallery

By Spear's

New mythologies celebrates seven contemporary artists for their distinctly abstract art pieces and their limitless powers, writes Jenna Sachs

New Mythologies: Figurative Abstraction in Contemporary Painting is Huxley-Parlour Gallery’s latest showcase of the works of seven different contemporary artists, including: Stephan Chambers RA, Eileen Cooper RA, John Copeland, Karishma D’Souz, Emma Fineman, Iris Schomaker, and Ella Walker. Each artist takes a distinct approach in exploring the construction of narrative created through figuration and abstraction.

Spanning across two floors, the exhibition opens with a series of larger works which demonstrate the distinct approach of each artist. The irradiated white walls of the gallery’s main room perfectly surround the patterns of saturated colour featured in Ella Walker’s The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover and Study for Music, demonstrating the intersection of mixed media in constructing a narrative.  Just on the opposite wall, the viewer comes face to face with a melancholic, upside-down figure in Iris Schomaker’s Untitled. Working with graphic black and white oil and watercolour, the artist reduces colour and form to explore abstraction through a contrasting lens.

New Mythologies
Ella Walker, The Cook the Thief his Wife & Her Lover, 2018 © the artist, Courtesy Huxley-Parlour Gallery

Though smaller in comparison to the larger canvases hung throughout the main room of the exhibition space, Eileen Cooper’s comforting representation of the relationship between human and nature in Peace, is impossible to miss. Curled in the fetal position beneath a large tree, a figure lies entangled in tree roots, appearing to be held in the arms of a maternal figure. Through the incorporation of fluid brush stroke and soft detail, Cooper constructs a tender depiction of growth, rebirth and peace between human and nature.

Following down the stairs to a smaller exhibition space, the visitor encounters a room filled with a mix of both small and large works. Although the walls still stand in gleaming white, the intimacy of this almost-hidden room offers a unique atmosphere that corresponds perfectly with the surreal landscapes of reconstructed scenes in D’Souza’s Land Conversations and the layers of paint portraying a distorted depiction of nudity, in John Copeland’s Memory is Always in the Way and Good Morning.

New Mythologies aims to act as a platform for profoundly beautiful stories. On the back-center wall, Emma Fineman’s Metzeir Tzar compliments the surrounding paintings with its bold depiction of gestural and expressive marks, conveying a vague sense of memory and internal desire. Brilliantly tucked away in the back corner as the ultimate finale for the exhibition, Stephen Chamber’s The Perfect Nude I and Two Black Angels (after Blake), radiate with vivid colours and patterns. Investigating the themes of identity and nationhood, Chamber’s insight provides us with an abstract and figurative understanding of the limitless depth behind a narrative.

New Mythologies
Eileen Cooper, Peace, 2017 © the artist, Courtesy Huxley-Parlour Gallery
Featured image: Iris Schomaker, Untitled, 2018 © the artist, Courtesy Huxley-Parlour Gallery

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