Newlyn Art Gallery

24th April - 16th May 2009

In this exhibition, both literal and metaphorical ‘wastelands’ were represented by a range of contemporary art.

Desolate landscapes, dysfunctional societies and broken minds were portrayed in a variety of media including painting, installation and performance, which in different ways seem to evoke the geographical and psychological themes of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land of 1922. The show included work by Jane Bailey, Sarah Bunker, Paul Chaney, Joe Doldon, Andy Harper, Ally Mellor, Kate Parsons, Alison Sharkey, Lucy Willow, Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter.

The exhibition was co-curated by Rebecca Darch, Jeni Fraser, Ruth Gooding and Phil Rushworth, who were students on MA Curatorial Practice at University College Falmouth, graduating in September 2009

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Lucy Willow

My interest in Death as a subject matter lies at the heart of all my current and past work, connecting it to a dark, visceral, Gothic landscape. I see ‘Gothic’ as a way of thinking and imagining that for me has been there since early childhood. My work has a deeply melancholic edge reflecting a great beauty that can be found in sadness. I have always been interested in exploring dark imagery and the transgression from what is considered ‘safe’. The nineteenth century philosopher Edmund Burke talks about the dual quality of fear and attraction, in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful which create emotions such as terror and delight. For me there is a sublime beauty to be found in death, a dark, melancholic voyeurism that provokes feelings of fear and delight.
- Lucy Willow

Memento Mori

A series of photographic works titled Memento Mori (remember that you are mortal and everything must die) have a grotesque and beautiful side, attractive yet repellent, celebrating a melancholic state of mind as a kind of desirable, living death. The main body of work consists of a series of still-life photographs – manipulated by working into the surface of wet inkjet prints with a paint brush – that give a sense that the objects depicted are rotting, dripping and decaying before your eyes.
Willow appropriates seventeenth century imagery from vanitas still-life paintings – skull, bubble, extinguished candle, rotting fruit, flowers and jewellery – symbols traditionally associated with death and the transience of life. Using contemporary techniques to achieve highly aesthetic works, Willow’s richly worked surfaces invite close contemplation to uncover meaning. Within the context of wastelands, her jewel-like prints explore the precariousness of the human condition, and Eliot’s evocations of disturbing sights and odours engulfing the senses are given visual tangibility.

- Jeni Fraser

Recent Exhibitions

2009 Momento Mori, Millennium Gallery, St Ives
2008 Mixed Winter Exhibition, Goldfish, Penzance
Canary in the Attic, Salt Gallery, Hayle
Art Now Cornwall, Tate St Ives, St Ives
2006 Battersea Art Fair, London
Make it Real, Whitstable, Kent

Lucy Willow's website

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