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Telling Tales   Cario Clecs

Zena Blackwell, Lara Davies, Rhiannon Davies
19 September to16 October 2020

These three artists share an open studio space that has a shared creative and dynamic force. Although not a cohesive group with regards content or manner, they do share certain characteristics within their practice. All are representational painters and all look at photographs or reproductions as a stimulus. They are all using their work to interpret, read and understand reproductions through conscious processing and re-imaging in paint. All look at what is redundant or essential through their choices. They are questioning an images authenticity or originality. Not, however, in a cynical or ironic manner, but more in a spirit of elegy, warmth and a search for what might be poetic.

Zena Blackwell’s work investigates the mad, anxiety-ridden and messy moments of raising children. She works from archived photographs as well as immediate drawing from a motif. Her selection of image, the simplification of form and the heightened use of flat intense colour can create a feeling of estrangement and disquiet. This is compounded by the composition and cropping, which can often cofound and intrigue.

Lara Davies is very much concerned with meanings of reproduction, selection and mimesis. Her paintings of other artist’s paintings reproduced in books act as a kind of homage (of which she describes herself as a sort of (‘tribute band’). The shifts in scale, the attention to not just the ‘painting’ but also the quality of a papers sheen and the quality of falling light creates interesting contradictions as well a richness.

Rhiannon Davies works with film and photographs that possess values of nostalgia and feminism as potential themes. She is interested in how action can be highly charged with ambiguity when stilled by the lens. Her narrative groups of people are a cross between Russ Meyer’s Vixen and Poussin’s bacchanals. The paintings are often made in muted tones and a soft focused manner which adds to this ambiguity.

All of these artists are makers who fully sign up to the efficacy and power of painting. They clearly voice their distinctive identities through their respective processes and actions.

Me reading ‘Philip Guston Retrospective’ in bed. Lara Davies.