Stage Effects: Pauline Caulfield, Li Xia, Ellie MacGarry, and Lisa Milroy exhibit at Kate MacGarry

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Stage Effects: Pauline Caulfield, Li Xia, Ellie MacGarry, and Lisa Milroy exhibit at Kate MacGarry
Installation view.

LONDON.- Stage Effects brings together four artists whose paintings include bodies and the objects we use around them. Some works suggest action beyond the frame, others show action happening within it.

Lisa Milroy’s Trying It On (2022) looks like a series of film stills in which a performer - the artist - tries on a variety of hats and applies lipstick. There is mystery in Ellie MacGarry’s painting Three hands (2022) with a single torso but the presence of a third, disembodied hand. Marigolds (2022) places washing-up gloves centre stage, distorted to hang in the foreground, defining the body which is behind them. In Hands (2022), Li Xia shows a cat’s paws resting on a woman’s fingers, smooth and cartoon-like. The absence of whole bodies leaves the story open, it is ours to complete. In La Trace d’Eté (Watch) (2022), we only see a sun-tanned arm, with a white mark around the wrist where the subject has been wearing a watch. Pauline Caufield’s wall hanging Lace Fan (2022) is static and appears to be three dimensional, with folds and a wooden frame, yet it is a flat image, printed on cotton, a visual trick like a tromple l’oeil painting. Some of the paintings in the exhibition suggest movement, others stillness. There are traces of human presence in these pictures, like in the act of painting itself.

Pauline Caufield was born in 1943. She lives and works in London. A textile artist, she makes printed window and wall hangings with bold geometric designs. Since 1968, she has designed ecclesiastical robes and altar frontals with her signature vibrant prints. Recent exhibitions include: Off the Rail, the artist’s studio (2018) and Ecclesiastical Textiles, Saint Augustine’s Church, London, UK (2018).

Li Xia was born in 1991 in Chongqing, China. She lives and works in Rouen, France. Her figurative paintings reflect on ephemeral and mundane moments from daily life. She focuses on both commonplace objects and details of the body, sometimes in relationship with another. Recent exhibitions include: Eye Contact, Yi Gallery, New York, USA and Sleepy Beauty, Bananafish Gallery, Shanghai, China (2019).

Ellie MacGarry was born in 1991. She lives and works in London. Her paintings of the female form offer an intimate examination of the body. Layers are exposed to reveal what remains private. Recent exhibitions include: All the Lives We Ever Lived, Canopy Collections at Cromwell Place, London, UK (2022) and Disappearing Act, Steve Turner, Los Angeles, USA (2021).

Lisa Milroy was born in 1959 in Vancouver, Canada. She lives and works in London. Known for her paintings of still life objects, she has expanded her imagery to include landscape, architecture, people and the body. Recent exhibitions include: A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920 – 2020, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2022); If the Shoe Fits / Bien dans ses Pompes, FRAC Occitanie Montpellier, France (2021) and Here and There: Paintings by Lisa Milroy, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2018).

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