“NOT AT HOME” New work by Amy Gadney and Abigail Schama
Amy Gadney and Abigail Schama’s show of new work is a play with the traditional forms of painting; Amy Gadney with landscape and Abigail Schama with portraiture.
Part real and part imagined, Amy Gadney’s landscapes draw on sources from Chinese landscape painting, Hubble telescope photography and adventure playgrounds to nineteenth-century wood engravings, Abstract Expressionism and the woods in fairytales.
Amy Gadney’s paintings behave like memories, coming in and out of focus, and the birds-eye perspective gives us an altered reality, the means to travel to uncharted territory. Always there is an intimate quizzing of landscape’s signals and of our mixed emotions towards them – our fear of getting lost, our search for shelter as well as the thrill in exploring and the lure of the unknown.
The recurrent image of a simple dwelling, a tree house, a shelter or a home, entices us with its solidity and vibrancy but like the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel we can’t be sure, and do the leafless trees signify growth or death? Landscape and emotion, the most constant of givens across time, are also minute-by-minute some of the most changeable. By conjuring both qualities, Gadney’s imagined landscapes give us surprising takes on our own internal weather
Abigail Schama’s new work takes up the tradition of Georgian miniature painting and brings it into contact with the contemporary.
In the first of two series, she enlarges a group of miniature portraits to monumental proportions. Their impoverished materials and pared lines drain the originals of their intimacy, leaving us with a gallery of haunted witnesses to the act of painting.
In the second series, mirrored boxes conceal images of Georgian love tokens. In the foreground are the same tokens transfigured into abstract shapes, rendered in gold leaf. Impossible to look at without contorting our heads and squinting, these pieces reveal the temptations and difficulties of looking where we shouldn’t.
Amy Gadney and Abigail Schama met at Art School in the early 90’s. “Not At Home’” is their first show together.