The Alien Inside Us

The Alien Inside Us

The Alien Inside Us (Lucile Haefflinger)

Private View: May 23rd 2022, 6-9pm

Coffee and cake morning: Saturday 28th May 10am onwards
Open every day 11am-6pm excluding Thursday and Friday until 31st May

Exhibiting artists:

Guillaume Bouges - @segoube
Michael Chance - @mjfchance
Holly Froy - @holly_froy
Vilte Fuller - @viltefuller
Lucile Haefflinger - @lucile_hae
John Powell Jones - @johnpowell_jones
Matthew Rimmer - @matthewrimmer_
Harry Whitelock - @whitelock_harry

An exhibition of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists based in London, Belgium and Manchester, including oil paintings, works on paper, and mixed media sculptures. The show has been curated by Lucile Haefflinger and Michael Chance, who have brought together a selection of works which display a dark and imaginative response to bodily experience.

Exploring those murky depths underneath the skin, these artists emerge with imagery that speaks of an inner world both physical - the realm of slippery, alien forms, guts, raw meat and bone - and mental - the mysterious world of dreams, metaphor, the subconscious. Like a skin stretched over wooden bones, the canvas is a kind of permeable boundary; in a sense, a painting exists both on its surface and beyond it, through it. Harry Whitelock and Lucile Haefflinger’s paintings bring attention to the surface, building up thick impasted layers which almost aggressively confront the viewer and push outwards. While Harry’s explode at the edges of the canvas and approach all-over abstraction, Lucile’s have a gravitational pull toward the centre, toward single objects which, though mute and unknowable, demand attention. Other paintings appear more tentatively. Michael Chance’s images materialise as if the painter were groping around and feeling for a mysterious form which gradually develops from the gloom, while Vilte Fuller’s paintings seem a conglomeration of innumerate touches, or rather - being more optic than haptic - glances; an Impressionism of her surreal inner landscape. The highly worked pen drawings of Guillaume Bouges seem to carve out claustrophobic spaces and tangible bodies from a billowing storm of hatched strokes, describing a world both nightmarish and seductive. Holly Froy’s paintings are less concerned with form, translating memory and experience into a symbolic and idiosyncratic personal language that draws from mythology and Mesoamerican culture. Sculpture is usually concerned with surface too, but in different ways. Henry Moore spoke of skin stretched over the knuckles of a clenched fist as an emblematic way of thinking about forms that had a kind of pneumatic inner tension. John Powell Jones’ sculpture has an encrusted, scarred and writhing surface which speaks of an entirely different kind of vitality; a corrupted and mutating cyborg dystopia. One figure emerges from within another in a way that is both comedic and horrifying. In contrast, Matthew Rimmer’s work - which is comprised of alien forms swimming in transparent fluid pouches, like shark eggs suspended in mid air - has a kind of serene innocence. However, one cannot help but flinch from touching them, lest they might suddenly spring to life. There is a sense that through their work, all these artists they are bringing something out into the light: something uncanny, ugly, grotesque or even terrifying. Yet, as these ideas pass through the skin, over the threshold between imagination and substance, and come into being as images and objects, they find a strange beauty all their own. 

~ artwork by Michael chance @mjfchance