Taymour Grahne Projects presents two solo shows at Cromwell Place on January 16: “The Bell, The Bell,” by London-based artist Luey Graves and “The Sunset Cycle,” by painter Adam de Boer.
In her exhibition Graves presents a collection of small, treasure-like paintings, collectively forming a narrative or vision. The exhibition, accompanied by a text from Brighid Lowe, Associate Professor of Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, explores a devotional quality, drawing inspiration from Italian altarpieces and medieval techniques. Each painting resonates with Iris Murdoch’s novel, “The Bell,” weaving a complex narrative that delves into societal norms, imprisonment, and the dualities of beauty and menace. Graves’ meticulous technique involves watercolour, gouache, and thin layers of oil paint, creating a unique visual language reminiscent of medieval practices.
The show intertwines various time loops, connecting post-war societal shifts in the 1950s to the cultural explosions of the 1960s. The titles of the paintings, such as “Life Room (Bruebeck)” and “Slade on Fire (Big Skirts),” carry nuanced references and engage with themes of toxicity, revenge, and fantasy. The ambiguity in titles and imagery introduces ambivalence, complicating the viewer’s relationship with the artworks.
The exhibition is an intricate exploration of layered meanings, presenting a convergence of historical influences, literature, and contemporary themes. The artist’s collaboration with her father, an antique furniture restorer, adds depth to the exhibition’s context, connecting it to traditional craftsmanship. Overall, “The Bell, The Bell” invites viewers to unravel the complexities within each painting, navigating through a rich tapestry of visual narratives.
In the second solo show by Adam De Boer, the artist utilises batik painting processes to portray everyday life in Los Angeles, focusing on Sunset Boulevard through four seasons and times of the day. His paintings, marked by precise colours and detailed observation, capture the changing light of the city, offering a fusion of batik techniques with realism. The exhibition prompts reflections on social and spiritual alienation in modern American life, presenting a stunning portrayal of Los Angeles in the 2020s.
In addition to the “Sunset Cycle,” the exhibition features eight additional batik paintings titled “Other Views,” depicting discrete scenes from Los Angeles. De Boer’s artistic process involves going to specific locations and meticulously observing the exact colours of the surroundings. He then translates this visual experience by using a canting, a pen-like tool, to apply hot liquid wax onto linen, creating a composition. Thinned-out acrylic paint is then daubed into the spaces cordoned off by the wax lines, a method known as batik colet. Finally, oil paint glazing and scumbling are applied to achieve the painting’s details and finishes.
The exhibition goes beyond observational acuity and formal beauty, offering a reflection on social and spiritual alienation present in modern American life. De Boer’s meticulous attention to detail and portrayal of human subjects in urban environments subtly prompts viewers to contemplate the complexities beneath the surface of everyday life. “The Sunset Cycle” thus presents a stunning fusion of traditional batik techniques, realism, and a nuanced exploration of contemporary urban existence.
About Luey Graves
Location: Cromwell Place, London
Dates: January 17 – 21, 2024
Main image caption: Adam de Boer, Rose Hills Crows no. 2, 2023 Batik on linen, Each panel: 130 x 90.2 cm. / 51 x 35.5 in. Overall: 130 x 185 cm. / 51 x 74 in.