LA-based, British artist Tahnee Lonsdale, announces her new solo exhibition, Tender Loin, at Dellasposa Gallery
. Lonsdales compelling paintings address relationships, sex, and female empowerment.
The exhibition sees Lonsdale's protest of the here and now with expressive, bending, shape-shifting nudes that represent the body as a locus of experience rather than a site observed. Instead of indulging in mimesis, she paints the figure with a persuasive force that can change one's stance according to the different values and systems the creator attributes to them.
Colour is a material basis for the artist's conceptual framework. Lonsdale paints a radiant scene of pneumatic anatomies with layered brushwork. The vivid strobe of yellow, so long a colour associated with the transgressive avant-garde, decadence, and beauty is a strong presence as the luminescence lifts the spirit and raises one's vision.
Concerned with the representation of women and feminism, the artist considers the complexities of the human condition and personal relationships in her work. Lonsdale gives a voice to her position: 'For me, being a woman is integral to my work,' Lonsdale says, 'it is my main resource.' Her vivid paintings speak volumes by examining how gender roles and relationships play out behind closed doors.
Lonsdale presents an ensemble of contemporary figures that are fluid, progressive, and open to change. Sprawling, alone, or unravelling - these are lucid representations of the human condition conveyed with visceral energy reverberating on the canvas. Her figures are rendered almost genderless and loosely repetitive, maintaining a compelling balance between order and chaos. There are invariably moments of entanglement; entwined bodies dance and double-over. In other moments, a sole body moves for independence.
Her paintings are a mirror into our world while presenting a personal journey that balances the ambiguous roles of a 21st-century mother, woman, artist. Where women experience a push and pull interplay between internalised roles and external demands, they are entangled and embroiled in a history of expectations wedded to a nurturing and delicate persona, simultaneously existing in an expansive space for women's inherent independence, power, and strength.
Tender Loin is a title that calls the mind the carnal nature of our flesh and bodies, with raw emotions and desires. Seduction is expressed as an electric current charging through this new series of paintings. Sensuality and vitality are complimented by instances of insecurity, intimacy and love - so much a subject in the artist's work. As with the title of the show, the title of her paintings - Awkward Romance, Under You, Stand by Me - refer to the rhythm of our daily lives, impulses, and yearnings.
Lonsdale's artistic process begins with an assemblage of symbolic structures and soft sculptures that are physical manifestations of her ideas. She often photographs configurations of discarded furniture as the basis for her work. 'They have a human quality', Lonsdale observes 'there is a sense that I have disturbed an intimate moment. In the act of documenting these scenes, I have become the voyeur.' The use of found furniture as a sculptural arrangement suggests a presence of the human form without the figure. It is a way of addressing the human condition in its contemporary state without addressing the classical heroic form.
Following in a tradition of women artists creating soft sculptures - such as Dorothea Tanning and Louise Bourgeois - there are allusions to an almost Surrealist sensibility. Lonsdale shares a mutual interest in the anthropomorphic forms that are stuffed and sewn. Her works unsettle the status quo for traditional ideas of sculpture and painting; responding as they do to the cold, pristine marble and bronze counterparts of art past, by offering soft, malleable forms that react to gravity in a more languid manner. These three-dimensional pieces are the genesis for whimsical images and narratives in her paintings. It is only after this first ritual of creation is completed that Lonsdale takes up the brush to begin work on her canvas.
While her paintings often bear a resemblance to the original assemblage, Lonsdale says 'others have unravelled into purely figurative works, varying between lethargic oafs copulating and lithe bodies in sensual acts of intimacy. They still bare the bones of their domestic origins, but their curves and shapes have transmuted to become scenes of an often sexual nature.'
Lonsdale creates her work with raw and impulsive energy. Absorbing worldly materials and images, she brings representation into her semi-abstract paintings by drawing from her instinctive and highly personal visual language. She understands that image is both depiction and iconography. Her irreverent engagement with figures on the canvas appears as hieroglyphs in technicolour, highlighting an elastic nature of progress. 'The women in my paintings seem to be evolving and gaining strength', notes Lonsdale, 'Like their bulky origins, they remain robust, yet soft in their femininity.'
Lonsdale's paintings present to us an impression of our times: a complex journey through multitudes and dichotomies. One that is neither simple nor sessile, but in a state of flux, ever challenging and evolving.