Exhibiting at AAF Milan 2016

Eyestorm, London

Arresting and mysterious, Henrik Simonsen's paintings of nature are obsessively accurate in form yet almost abstract in composition and hue. Depicting each fine blade of grass, delicate leaf and spindly twig within their natural habitat, they are a surreal fusion between landscape and Dutch floral still life. The significance of colour in Simonsen’s work is undeniable. Often abandoning realism in his pallet, he creates strong contrasts which allow the luminosity of the paint to sing on the canvas, at times giving the feel of a solorized photograph or alien atmosphere.

Simonsen's obsession for flora and fauna is attributed to his Scandinavian roots due to the region’s long standing tradition for art, design and architecture inspired by natural forms. He is also fascinated by elements of the French 'Rococo' style, especially its lack of structure, and the way it embraced the bizarre and beautiful, opulently celebrating the organic and the sensuous. This influence can be seen in works such as tapestry (2008) & inbetween (2008) where he uses repetitive motifs resembling those found in the period.

Inspired by the stories of his compatriot, Hans Christian Andersen, Simonsen interweaves dark and humerus elements of fairytale onto particular works. Innocently beautiful depictions of Hemlock, Henbane and Black Berry, are dressed with name tags resembling gift cards or the 'eat me' 'drink me' labels of Alice in Wonderland. A dangerous distraction to their true poisonous, psychoactive and thorny motives. Rather than serving as illustrations,...
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Skillful fusion of traditional Chinese artistic techniques and references to western Pop Art has lead to Jacky Tsai's complex and vibrant style. Clearly influenced by the artist’s move to London from his native China in his early 20’s, Tsai’s work embraces the two cultural extremes by harmoniously fusing social imagery associated with East and West to produce conceptually and aesthetically rich works.

A dedicated and tenacious temperament has led to Tsai mastering an impressive range of intricate techniques including traditional Chinese guohua painting, mono printing, screen printing, silk embroidery, cloisonne lacquering, sculpture and painted porcelain. Hand finishing prints with gold and palladium leaf, or using glow in the dark inks he is willing to innovate and utilizes his repertoire of skills to consistently purvey his vision of balance and unity between societies.

Playing with perspective he builds up imagined landscapes, layering found images and his own painting, with a dually graphic and painterly eye. Bright psychedelic colours and collaged effect adds a Tropicália aesthetic compositionally to works such as ‘Flying Tiger’, where Chinese dragons and Jackie Chan lookalikes in martial arts poses share the frame with a cascade of American fighter planes, girls swinging from rope trapeze and tropical birds.

A desire to transform attitudes of fear and superstition related to death and decay, prevalent in Chinese culture, has lead Tsai to consciously promote the beauty within the symbol of skull. Craniums consumed...
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Lucie Bennett's controlled lines deftly describe the subject of her oeuvre, women, with elegant simplicity. Her haunting sirens, alluring pin-ups, supernatural nymphs and gun wielding playboy bunnies bring to mind the golden age B movie heroines of the 1960's & 70's. Works such as Tahiti Nighttime and those of her Naked Burgundy series, exude this strong feminine sexuality with the girls directly confronting the viewer in overtly coquettish poses. At other times, her women are more elusive, oblivious to the viewer’s gaze. The relaxed elegant poses in Green Felt Tip Girl and Angel, suggest the viewer is an unseen voyeur of an intimate moment.

In the studio Bennett produces an abundance of drawn, painted and collaged sketches as she develops her ideas, minimising the elements and honing in on the desired essence of the final work. Her artistic mediums began with liquid latex, painting and card collage. She has since embraced working on brushed aluminium with card or gloss paint, which introduces a tantalising contrast between the cold material and the warm curves of the depicted bodies. Her giclee prints are made from digitally-created imagery and her original screenprints are handmade from scratch by pulling ink through screens in layers to dictate lines drawn by hand, showing her prowess with both modern and traditional techniques.

Inspired by her regular visits to Kew Gardens and the work of the biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel, Bennett began, in 2011, to develop a bold and more experimental strand to her work. She states that she...
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Sophie Smallhorn’s work explores the relationships between colour, volume and proportion through various mediums that include sculpture, print and large scale site-specific installations. Known for the strong use of colour within her work, probably her biggest project to date is her involvement in the creation of the 2012 London Olympic Stadium where she was commissioned to put together the changing spectrum of colours for the fabric wrap that runs around the outside of the building. Inspired by the colours of the Olympic rings and the flags of the 204 countries participating, Sophie worked with architects and designers to transform the monochrome structure into a dynamic object that was seen by the world in the summer of 2012.

Alongside these site-specific public commissions - which also include a glass roof structure in London Victoria and wall-based vinyl colour bands at Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Line underground station - Smallhorn makes works on paper in the form of monotypes and screenprints. Still with a strong focus on colour and often using a specific saturated palette that her working practice has become synonymous with, her prints are clean, crisp and uplifting as they explore shape and form through geometric arrangements. In October 2011 she produced a series of 100 unique screenprints that played and experimented with colour and form. After her work on the Olympic project she welcomed the idea of being in her studio, moving quickly and instinctively through ideas to create works that often relied on chance and the odd...
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Jane Ward’s transient landscapes immediately transport us into a fantastical world. Like an imagined scene from an intricately characterized story, Ward’s creations are meticulously constructed from various images, namely a combination of photographs she’s taken and hand-painted elements, which have been broken down again and again and then pieced back together to make stunning visionary scenes.

The painterly marks are executed by hand. Sometimes Ward will paint these onto a piece of paper, then scan and digitally combine them into the image, manipulating their shape and form in the process to get the desired effect. On other occasions she will actually paint the marks onto the surface of the paper or add them as screenprinted layers once the digital image has been printed, so the paint or ink sits on the surface of the paper.

In both cases, traces of earlier forms are present, while new elements are injected amongst them, creating a sense of memory and passing of time. Repetition is very apparent, and often Ward will use the same fragment of a photograph a number of times within the same image, flipped upside down or on its side, which again, adds to the aspect of recollection within the work. The cityscapes, villages and rural and industrial settings she creates are both familiar and disturbing as they allude to the cycles of destruction and regeneration witnessed in our everyday surroundings.

In September 2015, Jane Ward created two limited editions for Eyestorm ‘The Other Side of the Mountains 1’, which sees the...
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James Hunter’s recent series of abstract works share attributes with the genera 'surrealist automatism', in that they have no conscious compositional or pictorial outcome. Painting with enamel and acrylic, each contribution to the canvas informs the next, giving a sense of growth and expansion from an undefinable core. Hunter states that this group of paintings were born out of the need for a ‘lack of process’ - “I try to empty my mind. I don't want to know what's going to happen on the canvas. I start somewhere, then every subsequent mark is a response to what I see.”

This freedom of process is tempered with purposeful confident mark making and a clean graphic aesthetic. In pleasant opposition to the chaos of the image his works are presented in a uniform format, using the same colour palette, canvases of exactly the same size and the same portrait orientation. By first giving himself the parameters of his tools he is then able to enjoy the unexpected outcomes of working instinctively.

The result of his honest and playful journey are cumulonimbus of colour from which an infinite number of recognisable forms emerge. Panting dogs, computer game characters and fractured faces can be constructed from the jigsaw like components. The accents and highlights in works such as Fiesta Gitana give a sense of movement, as if they were shaking or dancing. Jackanapes, an old word meaning a cheeky impertinent person or a tame monkey, seems to live up to its title vibrating with giddy energy. The use of block of colour to segregating the...
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Carne Griffiths’ love of drawing stems from childhood when he was constantly with a pencil in his hand. His distinctive delicate and expressive style of mark-making, clearly influenced by artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Paul Klee, has developed from a twelve-year London-based career as an embroidery designer after leaving art school, where he produced elaborate hand drawn embroidery designs for prestigious clients such as HRH the Prince of Wales, The Sultan of Oman, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Asprey, Chanel, Burberry and many of London’s Savile Row tailors, as well as for films The Last King of Scotland, Valkyrie, The Phantom of the Opera and costume embroidery design for the musical Wicked.

Wanting to concentrate more on his personal work as an artist, in January 2009 Griffiths produced a collection of automatic drawings for his first solo show entitled ‘The Seer’ in Leytonstone’s 491 Gallery. The drawings, based upon the automatic process, revisited his former influences, were a departure from the formality of embroidery design and consequently re-ignited his passion for art, and he went on to create a project called 100sqft, where artists, both established and emerging were brought together to show their work alongside each other in a group exhibition. In his first collection of drawings since his departure from the embroidery world, Griffiths gathers together the influences from his previous work and seeks to develop his style of drawing. The Harvest collection, which features ‘Rose’, references the work of old masters...
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As an artist in demand from the publishing market having worked as an illustrator for a number of years, Delphine Lebourgeois is used to designing book covers within strict guidelines, and in 2011 she released a body of work that playfully subverts the boundaries of these commissioned jobs. By using books’ original designs as starting points, mainly those with predominantly typographic covers, she then adds her own drawings, digital collage and printed material, which are worked on over a long period of time until a global architecture emerges; this ‘simmering’ process of the continuous changing of the images is a very important part for the artist. Generally there is no connection between the book title and Lebourgeois’ added imagery; in most cases, Lebourgeois doesn’t read the book before making the works, and so the content of the story is laid aside in an attempt to create another story altogether, which in turn opens a discrepancy between words and visuals, leaving it to the viewer to create their own links and associations. In the elegant Le Moulin De La Galette, circus acrobats appear as astronauts floating within a chandelier, and in a playful Charlotte Lowenskold a hair pin grows into a fishing rod.

Her series of digital collages titled "Déesses", which translates to Goddess in French, are intuitive and fueled with romantic visions. Lebourgeois' images are collages in their making as well as in the way the ideas are built: incongruous elements play with each other and grow organically into a beautiful and surreal...
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Suzanne Moxhay’s photographic works have a disconcerting yet calming effect. By using found imagery from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Moxhay creates eerie fictional landscapes with a retro edge, their muted colours like faded prints from the past. But the world she portrays is almost post-apocalyptic; vast open spaces with no human presence reminiscent of a scene from Cormac McCarthy’s novel ‘The Road’. Is this Moxhay’s vision of the future or ‘The End’?

‘Halcyon’ features wind turbines, pylons, the remains of an old petrol station and a thick fog that encases the land suggesting industrial overload, and in ‘Inland Sea’, ships sit in the desert as if the ocean has disappeared from underneath them. In ‘Highway’, she introduces an element of life in the form of a colony of bats flying in the direction of the straight road ahead towards the setting sun, perhaps heading away like everything else has done before them. In ‘Eryrie’ shows birds settled on a pile of the remains of a collapsed home which sit on top of what appears to be a landfill site.

Despite their unsettling nature, Moxhay’s dreamlike scenes have a deep narrative that leaves the viewer thinking about what has been and what’s to come. Whether they’re intending to be a metaphor for life and our existence, a comment about the environment and the state of our planet or just images of an imagined world, they speak out, which is what, paired with their excellent execution, validates them as complex and intelligent photographic works. Created by...
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At a moment when figurative art is enjoying something of a renaissance, Whitney McVeigh has produced a series of works that combine the expressive immediacy of gestural abstraction with the psychological depth of portraiture. The ‘Heads’ paintings are mainly executed in acrylic inks on paper or canvas and are not portraits in the conventional sense, but adopt certain formal aspects of portraiture merely as a starting point for a more inventive take on human individuality. McVeigh has spoken of her interest in what she calls “the internal landscape: our make-up,” seeing her ‘Heads’ as representative of “a frailty beneath the complex surface of us all.” Like the sculpted heads of Elisabeth Frink, McVeigh’s ‘Heads’ paintings allude to the tension between universal human frailty and the totemic qualities of the human image that are central to ancient and ‘primitive’ art.

Alongside the ‘Heads’, McVeigh makes another body of work in the form of abstract black monoprints. Sharing the importance of the process of painting and being open to the materials, as is seen with the ‘Heads’, there is more of a physicality to these works.

In August 2014, Eyestorm published the limited edition print 'Map of Time’ featured here. The use of black is important to McVeigh as there is no reduction process. McVeigh’s fluid means of applying paint to the picture surface suggests a degree of technical ‘looseness’ which actually disguises the control exercised in the production of the image. Angie talks more about the...
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Often drawing upon his own personal memories Jonathan Purday’s use of photography and film stills is carried forward into his practice. His paintings display the artist’s core aesthetics bringing together a selection of colours that are exploited by the often harsh dark void that confronts them. Memory and its waywardness becomes the real subject of these pieces, as the artist often works not from the image but his recollection of it. Consequently, compositional organisation and detail often become ‘lost in translation.’ A short time living in Portugal was the inspiration for a series of paintings created in 2010/2011.

Landscape works which depict scenes in and around where he was living, they seek to address the rugged and untamed charm of the wilderness. At the same time as producing these works he was also writing ‘Haiku’ poems – a form of Japanese poetry traditionally printed in a single vertical line that often takes aspects of the natural world as its subject matter – and consequently some of this series of works could be seen as visual interpretations of these Haikus. Film references are still present in the new paintings, most notably in ‘Homage to Red Squirrel’, which was made in response to the opening scene of the film of the same name. Previous works have taken scenes of struggle and conflict, creating gentle pyrotechnics, turning the blockbuster films of violence and confrontation into soft-edged explosions, pastel-coloured atrocities as soothing to the eye as a Matisse. In more recent work Purday draws on...
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