8 February - 15 March, 2024
Lily Lewis, a self-taught multidisciplinary artist, embarks on a captivating artistic journey that seamlessly intertwines landscapes with classical forms, featuring vessels and female bodies. Her profound exploration delves into the amalgamation of delicate vases adorned with faint grid lines, where adumbrated female figures intricately follow and amplify the curvature and volume of these vessels. In this mesmerizing series, Lewis fearlessly embraces the feminine, presenting joyful bodies that not only define the various shapes of the vessels but also, through their magnification aligned with the curves of these containers, seem to burst forth with exuberance.
The genesis of this compelling series lies in Lewis's response to the overturning of the Roe vs Wade decree in the United States. These paintings become protest pieces, echoing the artist's strong stance on issues surrounding women's rights. The vessels, adorned with subtle grid lines, serve as a canvas for the depiction of female bodies, each carefully crafted to echo the contours and forms of the containers. Lewis's unapologetic celebration of femininity challenges traditional norms and perceptions, inviting viewers to contemplate the intersection of womanhood, autonomy, and artistic expression.
As the vases find their place in surrealist architectural and natural mindscapes, the artistic process itself becomes a laborious act. Lewis meticulously pulls the paint in multiple directions, creating a woven effect. This technique, reminiscent of traditional female pursuits like weaving, takes on a transformative quality in Lewis's hands. The bursting and line-breaking images of bodies and pots within the interior and exterior domains are rendered with both care and formulaic precision, highlighting the artist's mastery over her chosen medium.
The juxtaposition of the female body and landscape in Lewis's work prompts contemplation on the historical use of these elements in art. The infusion of highly graphic and almost augmented reality (AR) futurism into classical themes challenges the viewer to question the responsibility of representation. Lewis's artistic endeavour becomes a mirror reflecting our evolving understanding of the human form in conjunction with social and technological advancements.
The concept of woman as vessel takes centre stage, echoing through the ages as a recurring motif in art. Lewis adds a contemporary twist to this age-old symbolism, questioning societal perceptions and norms. The use of the female body in conjunction with landscapes, infused with a futuristic aesthetic, prompts viewers to reconsider their understanding of the human experience. The deliberate fusion of historical context with a bold and modern approach challenges us to reassess the language of the body in the context of ever-changing societal dynamics.
In navigating the intricate dance between the feminine form and classical vessels, Lewis invites us to contemplate the essence of autonomy and self-expression. Her paintings serve as a visual dialogue that extends beyond the canvas, exploring the intricacies of representation in a world marked by both progress and historical legacies. Lewis's work becomes a poignant reminder of the ongoing journey to build and shape the language of the body, echoing the pulse of societal and technological developments while carrying the weight of our shared history.
As viewers immerse themselves in Lily Lewis's artistic realm, they are confronted with a rich tapestry of symbolism, where vessels and bodies merge, creating a harmonious yet provocative narrative. The artist's commitment to exploring the interplay between the classical and the contemporary beckons us to reflect on our role in shaping the evolving discourse surrounding the human form. In essence, Lewis's paintings become a testament to the power of art to transcend time, resonating with the pulse of societal evolution and leaving an indelible mark on the canvas of our collective consciousness.