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ALEXIS SOUL-GRAY

'No Place Like Home'
Viewing Room 19th October - 9th November 2021

 

ABOUT

‘No Place Like Home’ is an online solo exhibition by Alexis Soul-Gray featuring 3 new original works, spanning the breadth of the artists current mediums of choice; collage, drawing, printmaking and painting. The works continue the artists exploration of grief, loss, memory, nostalgia and the family unit within a harmonious balance of abstraction and figuration.

The exhibition forms part of an ongoing series entitled '3 Works for 3 Weeks'; an innovative take on the traditional solo exhibition, whereby each artist presents three artworks for just three weeks on the Liminal Gallery website. One new work will be released each Tuesday throughout the duration of the exhibition, accompanied by text, detail images and source material, to encourage a slower and more comprehensive engagement with the artworks and the artist themselves. The exhibition invites collectors to get intimate and build a personal connection with the artwork before purchase. 

 

Scroll down to view the artworks and their accompanying texts.

For all purchase enquires please get in touch.

 
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ALEXIS SOUL-GRAY

WHERE TROUBLE MELTS LIKE LEMON DROPS

OIL ON LINEN

45.5 x 40.5cm

£2,000

DETAIL IMAGES OF 'WHERE TROUBLE MELTS LIKE LEMON DROPS'

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At the top of the viewing room page you will see a collage work created by Soul-Gray, which inspired the first artwork of the exhibition ‘Sit With Me A While’. Soul-Gray set out to create a painting informed from this drawing throughout the duration of the exhibition and the resulting artwork is the third and final piece released, ‘Where Trouble Melts Like Lemon Drops’.

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This oil painting on linen went through an agonising transformation as Soul-Gray made radical changes throughout the painting process, which was an honour to observe. In the same way that her work is brutally honest, examining the most harrowing of her life experiences, the painting too can sometimes feel like she is wrestling to force it into being.  

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The painting began life as a faithful reproduction of the collage, however as the work progressed an entirely new narrative was created. While the collage showed girls smiling through their pain, the girl in the final painting has pain written on her face. Her head is bowed as if she is about to cry.

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Her melancholic state is reinforced by hints of people around her in shades of blue, each with the backs to her – ignoring or jeering her. The opposite of her drawing ‘Sit With Me A While’, this painting shows a lonely girl, full of sadness with no one to comfort her.

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Her pink coat is the epitome of traditional girls fashion, trimmed in fur which suggests the reoccurring vintage imagery used as source material by the artist in her works. Surrounding the girl are bright pink floral motifs and a running horse, once again these are reminiscent of girls fashion in the 1970s onwards, featured in knitwear and knee high school socks.

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These images remind us of the perfect family, the perfect home, the perfect child used in these marketing campaigns. An aspiration of home and family which is manicured and curated to create a level of perfection which omits all humanity and emotion.

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The depth of this work comes from the artists grappling with the work; painting, editing, repainting, filling, cutting down and overworking. Impasto moments are punctuated with soft colouring, hinting at ghostly figures and objects. The canvas was intended to be much larger however as Soul-Gray has cut the size down it means that the painting extends around the edge of the canvas frame, a continuation of the fantastic imagery and layering where we can see hints of a bubble from the original collage.

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The title of the painting refers to the film Wizard of Oz, from the song ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, the verse goes:

“Someday I'll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops that's where
You'll find me”

 ‘Where Trouble Melts Like Lemon Drops’ suggests an escape from reality, running away from your heartache. While the layered imagery suggests the moment from the film where Dorothy’s house is picked up by the storm and everything and everyone she loves whizzes past her, mutating into the fantastical world of Oz, as she lets reality slip through her fingers.

“I was talking to a friend yesterday and describing that somehow a door has been opened, a tiny crack of light was shining through and conversing with me. This year, despite it being 2020 and awful for us all, for me I have worked through some demons left firmly cemented in my subconscious, maybe they have gone..maybe not. This space that has opened shines a light on part of myself I haven’t spent time with for many years.”
Excerpt from Alexis Soul-Gray's blog 22nd October 2020

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ALEXIS SOUL-GRAY
FEATHER FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY HAT
2021
OIL ON CANVAS
30.5 X 25.5CM
£1,500

DETAIL IMAGES OF 'FEATHER FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY HAT'

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Process is an incredibly important part of Soul-Gray’s practice and here we see moments of done and undone sitting harmoniously alongside each other, dancing between representation and emotive intuitive mark making. While the top of the painting seems tranquil, the lower half turns into frenetic, highly energised lines which form loose figuration suggesting hands and the ties of a crown around the neck.

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Alongside is a face, perfectly formed with tonal shading and rich rosy cheeks and a pointed crown. The darkly filled background in stark contrast against the rest of the image, which feels softer with minimal paint application, allowing the weave of the canvas to show through.

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The girl stares at something outside of the canvas, she smiles softly but feels distant from any direct interaction. Like a bystander smiling sweetly to themselves at a moment they witness but are apart from. The girl seems lonely, from the title we can assume it is her birthday and here she stands before us adorned in a crown and what seems to be a fine dress, but she is in solitude with no one to bear witness.

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Despite the smile, there is a sadness to her, a quiet melancholy. Perhaps this is the colouring of the work, rich in earthy greys and a light blushed beige to accentuate her cheeks and crown.

To the right there is a black flailing form and from the title we understand it to be a feather, gifted to her for her crown. While a nice adornment, a feather does not belong on a crown. A gift from someone who maybe doesn’t understand her and her intentions. A beautifully sombre image full of emotion and intent, perfectly displaying Soul-Gray’s ability to convey narrative with a solitary figure. 

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“I always knew my mother had never been that happy. I remember once a conversation in a Pizza Express restaurant when we were talking about the subject of happiness. I said to her that I thought she had never really been very happy and she just cried in front of me, in front of the restaurant. I didn’t mean to hurt her, I felt I needed her to know that I understood that about her.”
Excerpt from Alexis Soul-Gray's blog 11th November 2020

 
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ALEXIS SOUL-GRAY
SIT WITH ME A WHILE
2021
PENCIL ON PAPER
26 X 21CM
£800

 

DETAIL IMAGES OF 'SIT WITH ME A WHILE'

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‘Sit With Me A While is a highly detailed figurative graphite drawing which gives way to loose ghostly representation. The characters have each been sourced from vintage magazines and fashion templates from the 1900s. Never intended for long term use, they were produced for fleeting fashion trends, which pass and fade as quickly as the images themselves.

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They have been clipped and pieced together by the artist, immortalised and banded together. A girl blows bubbles across the scene, another reminder of time passing, of bubbles bursting, of the norm disrupted by chaos.

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After the passing of her own Mother by assisted suicide, Soul-Gray creates work which explores the notion of motherhood and home. This piece, however, seems to be from the point of view of the child, motherless and alone surrounded only by their peers. They pass the time together, cling onto one another but the maternal figure is vacant and the children fade into soft lines and subtle shading.

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The collecting of and reference to vintage ephemera in Soul-Gray’s work sings of regaining happier times and memories. We look back at our past with rose tinted glasses and, often, when we think of happiness at home, traditional scenes of the 1950s come to mind. But times have changed and that way of life can no longer be attained.

These girls weren’t created to stand the test of time, but to be thrown away after use. Yet here they stand, immortalised by Soul-Gray to show that no matter how faded or broken, they are present and together, sharing the trauma of their loss.

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"I have recently been re examining the relationship my mothers death in 2006 has had on me long term. Her death was a little different as she took a plane to Zurich, Switzerland and drank a lethal barbituate drink in a 'clinic' that looked more like an ex council flat than the sparkly white medical ward I had expected. The months leading up to her assisted suicide were extremely dark, leaving myself, my father and my siblings with unspeakably horrific memories to carry for the rest of our lives. She was terrified of illness and death, she was morbidly depressed. She never came to terms with what was happening and perhaps that is partly why the experience has had such long lasting affects on me and my work. After her death I spiralled into a depressive state and was diagnosed with PTSD...I had nobody to turn to except an on/off boyfriend who I was falling excruciatingly in love with, entangling my feelings for him with the trauma of this part of my life. I was terrified of losing him after losing her. I did lose him and I did lose her."
Excerpt from Alexis Soul-Gray's blog 16th August 2020

 

PRESS RELEASE

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‘No Place Like Home’ is an online solo exhibition by Alexis Soul-Gray featuring 3 new original works, spanning the breadth of the artists current mediums of choice; collage, drawing, printmaking and painting. The works continue the artists exploration of grief, loss, memory, nostalgia and the family unit within a harmonious balance of abstraction and figuration.

 

After the traumatic loss of her own mother, Soul-Gray uses her practice to explore loss; loss of a person and the displacement of love reserved for that person. Using scenes of domesticity from wide ranging sources such as knitting patterns and vintage ephemera, the artist questions notions of motherhood and home. Yet her works are warm, reclaiming the lost characters, releasing them into a new contemporary future. These figures appear softly, tarnished with the decay of passing time, both nostalgic and raw. The artists sympathetic hand and enthrallingly soft loose lines rendering ghostly images from her soft palette to give the viewer a sense of ease amidst the emotively charged works.

 

‘No Place Like Home’ forms part of an ongoing series entitled 3 Works For 3 Weeks, an innovative take on the traditional solo exhibition, promoting slow looking and true engagement with the artist, the artworks and the concepts behind them. Each exhibition in the series features 3 artworks alongside text, detail images and source material to give an intimate insight into the artworks. Each exhibition runs for just 3 weeks and invited artists are all currently working within the UK.


Each Tuesday at 10am throughout the duration of the exhibition, Liminal Gallery will release a new artwork accompanied by text and detail images onto the dedicated Viewing Room found on www.liminal-gallery.com.

To purchase please get in touch with us info@liminal-gallery.com