Axisweb, the online contemporary art resource, selects the North’s most promising new artists.
Manchester-based artist Lindsey Bull is a graduate of Chelsea School of Art’s Fine Art MA, who since her first solo show in 2005 at Cornerhouse has caught the eye of curators and critics with her small-scale, mysterious oil paintings. Her paintings are driven by an interest in occult practices and mythology, and draw on a lexicon of images from books on ancient witchcraft and cults to1950s boxing magazines and Kung Fu journals. The figures which capture her attention are often caught in the midst of performing some unknown ritual: Bull became fascinated by the rituals and performative behaviours within Taoism and Buddhism while undertaking a residency in China.
Fleetingly tangible, her work is infused with a kind of other-worldly, kinetic energy
Her works feature lone, often female figures, who appear to be momentarily spellbound. Fleetingly tangible yet unknowable, the figures are infused with a kind of other-worldly, kinetic energy. They are caught mid-movement, in a state of flux. For Bull, “the idea of movement is important to the process of making: to create tension in a moment in time.”
Parts of the canvas are left bare, while other areas have intensely patterned accretions of paint. The figures often emerge from a nebulous mist, as if sliding in and out of focus. Loose, undulating brush strokes surrounding the figure appear to mirror this movement. This veiling and envelopment of the figure serves as a device to signify a state of altered perception, creating a sense of voyeurism and a sense of looking at a private ritual or secret ceremony. For Bull, her paintings “interpret a kind of ‘gothic psychedelia’: they are the juncture where psychedelic patterning and colours meet darker forces.” Lindsey Bull’s recent exhibitions include the solo show Out of the Cosmic Storm at Transition Gallery, London, in 2012, and you can see Bull’s work now alongside other contemporary painters in the exhibition The Owl Service at Transition Gallery until 24 March.