We are pleased to present ‘Elysian Fields’, an exhibition about the ever-changing relationship between the physical and the digital, explored through the work of two contemporary artists: Juliette Losq and Stuart Sandford.
Juliette Losq’s watercolour paintings depict man-made environments in the process of decline, semi-industrial sites where human occupation has all but departed and nature is regaining control. The intense labour involved in the creation of Juliette’s expansive paintings contrasts with the abandoned subject matter, as if the physical work that once belonged within these structures had found a new role in documenting their change. Juliette’s use of watercolour is unusual in this respect, as the scale and complexity of the works contrasts with the traditional domestic role of the medium. The unexpected is also a theme in the imagery: there is an implicit presence lurking behind the abundance of detail, an unknown future hovering invisible beyond the decay. In this sense Juliette’s paintings are also imaginative theatres where contrasting forces compete: creation versus dereliction; the tangible versus the imaginary; the visually precise versus the undefined. They describe the uncertain moment where humankind is reevaluating its relationship with the physical world before the seemingly limitless possibilities of digital creation.
Stuart Sandford’s sculptures explore the rapidly shifting distinction between the virtual and physical realms by revisiting the Classical tradition of the ideal human form. Stuart finds the contemporary version of the exemplary in the carefully crafted online self-images that serve as subjects for the gay male gaze. He renders these through 3D scanning to create a digital template of the new archetype, to be then made solid in bronze, marble, and basalt using state-of-the-art sculpturing technologies. A life-size figure of Adlocutio, created with the porn star Sean Ford, depicts an alluring male in white lacquered bronze gazing into his phone as if addressing his adoring his many followers. Stuart’s reworking of the classical myth of the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its tail, interprets this as a tale of self-love taken to its narcissistic extreme. Stuart’s sculptures present an unashamed examination of how conceptual and sexual attraction overlap and suggest our new idealism is rendered in the digital realm.
‘Elysian Fields’ opens on Thursday 10 February 2022, 6:30 – 8:30pm. To receive the PDF preview catalogue of works please register via the link above.