Lovers Lane at Oceans Apart Gallery is an exhibition of paintings by fourteen artists whose work luxuriates in form, immediacy and the poetics of a Dionysian approach to painting. Depicting recognisable content, however loose that might be, this exhibition demonstrates an enthusiastic return to figuration, through flexible representation, poetic emblems and the sensual energy carried in the body and the land.
In the Chauvet Caves in Southern France a powerful connection is made between painting and person. The paintings in these caves speak to a deep human drive for figuration and the documentation of man’s relationship with the world and its creatures – a truly archaic ‘activity-presence’.
The paintings in this exhibition are descendants of these origins of expression and they embody the passionate drive of their forebears. And these painters imbue their surroundings – they permeate their environment, merging human with anything else that feels right. Here a Dionysian relationship is born, through wild abandon and with the desire for release taking the fore. Dionysus, the lingerer, the creator, the cultivator, the believer, the deceiver – these paintings are artefacts possessing symbolic language, constructed in dream-states.
And where there is Dionysus, there is Apollo. Wild nature coupled with restraint, such is this kind of painting. Wiping, slopping, scraping, etching. Rushing against the painterly device – the stretcher frame – in an assault on order. But necessary to make a painting. Without the enthusiastic symptoms of a frenzy; the bunched paint, brush hair, the dream mix, the racing line, thumbprints, oil bleeding through the back. These paintings are the bloody nose Dionysus gave Apollo. Lovers Lane is a saloon, post-bar fight.