ITALY MONOCHROMES: DOUBLE VISION
9TH - 21ST NOVEMBER, 2016
This exhibition brings together the thematically related work of artists L.J Polley-Peters and Alexi Keywan.
When considering Italy and colour, the link to paint is obvious. Relationships between pigment and place exist already. Veronese green, Naples yellow, Venetian red, raw sienna, Italian earth...
In 2014 I visited Italy for the first time. Experiencing the colours in the natural environment and the painted world was profoundly moving. The blue of Giotto's Scrovegni chapel in Padua, The umber of the Capuchin crypt in Rome, the pink ruins of Pompeii, the brown medieval city of Cortona, the navy blue isle of Capri, olive green Firenze, emerald Vernazza and the black night of Venice.
On return, I began making a series of monochrome paintings, to enable a focus on colour, surface and light - elements I valued most in my experiences of Italian painting.
The three oil paintings in this show are about specific places. Two are coastal locations, and one a walled city six hundred and fifty metres above sea level. The physical matter of the paint was laid down over many months, each successive layer building toward the right weight, tone and consistency.
In contrast, the water colours were not made to denote particular sites. Fresco-like surfaces were created by methodically applying layers of a chalky gesso. The resulting ground is absorbent and uneven, creating subtle areas of incident for the paint to collect. The colour was applied, as a watercolour stain, removed and reapplied until reaching a state of completion. I have avoided excessively gestural, expressionistic marks, to allow for the feeling of a natural fusion between pigment and ground. It is my hope they retain an openness so the viewer may have their own experience with them.
-L.J Polley-Peters, 2016
LONG EDDY LANDSCAPES
19TH FEB - 1ST MARCH, 2014
The cabin in the woods is a recurring theme in American horror cinema, spectacularly encapsulated in Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s 2012 parody of the same name.
Artist L.J. Polley-Peters was travelling in New York at the same time this film was showing in American theatres. Not long before attending a screening, she and her partner took a road trip to the house of friends in Long Eddy, Upstate New York, and found themselves in a setting straight out of American backwoods horror. The starkness of this unpopulated landscape with its derelict shacks, pinewoods and austere churches left a strong impression on the artist. The resulting drawings and paintings with their reduced, often monochrome palette, explore an environment devoid of humans and stripped to its essentials: earth, woods, mountainous horizon.
There’s nothing explicitly horrific about these scenes, yet they are imbued with a sense of the uncanny for those aware of their Gothic associations. Eeriness arises from the fact that each scene is a fragment, a section of a greater whole from which something is hidden. L.J. Polley-Peters weighs up the light and the shade, leaving us to imagine whether what’s implied is sinister or benign. -Katerina Sakkas, 2014
PAINT A DIFFERENT COLOUR ON YOUR FRONT DOOR
14TH - 25TH JUNE, 2011
At the end of 2009, crossing over into the New Year of 2010 I spent six weeks alone in Nepal & India. I travelled from Kathmandu, to Pokhara (where I trekked for a week on the Annapurna circuit), moving on to Varanasi, Jaipur, Pushkar and Agra.
I felt drawn to the simultaneous beauty and difficulty of these places. Colours burnt brightly, piles of raw pigment imprinting my mind, while the smell of burning plastic and the brilliance of synthetic paint a persistent and powerful reminder of the industrial age. Luminous painted walls and doors became solid beacons, majestic fields, often contrasting against the breathing, mutable world. Pure colour revealed itself on every corner, set to bounce, diffuse or hold. I slept in silver rooms, green rooms, blue rooms, purple rooms, white rooms, grey rooms. I watched the smog spread over Agra, smelt the gasoline in the air, listened to too much Gram Parsons and returned to make paintings...
-L.J Polley-Peters, 2011