Overview

We are pleased to present ‘A Bout de Souffle’, an exhibition of new paintings by the London-based artist Gill Button.

Gill Button’s paintings respond to the constant stream of images we encounter daily, articulating the split second of identification where an image touches a nerve and captures a complex of feelings. While her scenes are intimate, their subjects exist in direct relationship with the gaze of the other, as if their private moments were stories lived out in awareness of another’s attention. All have a strong cinematic quality, reminiscent as the exhibition title suggests of the French New Wave, along with a loose, impulsive painterly quality the lend them both expressiveness and sincerity. Uncertain, vulnerable, interior moments placed fleetingly under the public glare: Gill’s paintings oscillate between intimacy and openness, introspection and display.

Breath is a key theme in this new body of work – that essential need the absence of which is unbearable. Gill traces a connection between the need to breathe and the surge of identification with an image: a sudden moment of intensity that connects the visual to deep emotional needs. Many of her scenes present moments of vulnerability, sleeping figures or undressed bodies. Tightly cropped portraits push the focus onto the interior psychological theatre of the subject, often played out in view of the other. Some present sultry gazes, smouldering with intensity. Others articulate romantic separation, monochrome portraits seeming to dissolve like smoke on water as if wishing for disintegration. The transition from one state to another, from liquid to air, from enclosure to freedom, is presented with almost orgasmic intensity.

In larger works, this urge for connection translates into another kind of breathlessness – that of physical connection with another, and of breath being taken away by a kiss or an embrace. The largest work in the show sees a pair of figures enveloped in an embrace while immersed underwater. Smaller paintings present couples kissing, rendered in intense fleshy hues. Sometimes they are closely cropped together in tight intimacy; others are tantalisingly divided, existing on separate canvases. An accompanying monochrome sees a kissing couple almost disintegrate into each other in a heady romance. In these works, the viewer implicit in her smaller works is brought into the scene, bridging the gaze and closing the gap between subject and admirer.

Artworks

Gill Button | 2am
Gill Button
2am
Gill Button | Home
Gill Button
Home
Gill Button | Faded Whispers
Gill Button
Faded Whispers
Gill Button | The Alizarin Room
Gill Button
The Alizarin Room
Gill Button | Crimson Monday
Gill Button
Crimson Monday
Gill Button | Glassy Eyed
Gill Button
Glassy Eyed
Gill Button | Veiled Immersion
Gill Button
Veiled Immersion
Gill Button | Hazy Lucidity
Gill Button
Hazy Lucidity
Gill Button | Faded Dream
Gill Button
Faded Dream
Gill Button | Ruby Dreams
Gill Button
Ruby Dreams
Gill Button | Split Infinity
Gill Button
Split Infinity

Installation Images

A Bout de Souffle

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