Myths of Observation

10 Jun-30 Jul 2022
PV 9 Jun 2022, 6-8pm


Hales is delighted to present Myths of Observation, a group exhibition featuring works by Martyn Cross, Jacqui Hallum, Hew Locke, Anna Perach, Lucy Stein, Maddalena Zadra and Alyina Zaidi. 

The exhibition takes the concept Geomythology as a starting point to explore the connection between storytelling and our physical and spiritual environment. Geomythology, also referred to as Myths of Observation, is the study of oral history and folklore to explain geological phenomena and natural features of the landscape in pre-scientific cultures. The exhibition expands beyond the historic, bringing in present stories and perspectives. The artworks acknowledge the role that myths play, both as cultural heritage and contemporary storytelling, as tools for understanding and navigating reality today. 

Working across painting and sculpture, and currently based in the UK, these artists communicate stories from near and far. In poetic reimaginations of the world around us - the works draw on a long tradition in art history to convey inner concerns, thoughts and feelings through the outer world. In transcendental works, the mythic and spiritual qualities are not fixed, invoking wonder and introspection. 

Drawing on concepts from mythology and the medieval, Martyn Cross creates paintings where the landscape is personified. Figures, eyes and solitary limbs emerge from clouds and rivers, speaking to an alternate human experience. In draped and suspended work, Jacqui Hallum pushes the boundaries of painting - ever changing, concealing and revealing, within the painting themselves and installation. Embracing chance and alchemy, out of the watery depths Hallum creates a living landscape. In painted photographs, Hew Locke bestows a spirituality to the once grandiose houses of Guyana. The wooden architecture has fallen into disrepair, returning back to the earth from which they originally came as trees. Locke sees them as spirit houses, quietly holding on to legacies, nostalgia and memories of his youth. Anna Perach's sculptural piece is inspired by the infamous Harry Kellar's magic trick of the same name. The intricately tufted work speaks to the experience of being detached, defiant but always feeling the pull of origins - personal or geographical. Lucy Stein's luscious paintings combine a multitude of references, including esoteric cultures, Greek mythology and medieval imagery to explore the contemporary female painter's relationship to painterly traditions. Linking symbols and storytelling, Maddalena Zadra often creates a humorous visual pun in her paintings. Sewn together canvas evokes a timeworn flag for a fictional nation and her mark making exudes prehistoric cave painting. Alyina Zaidi draws on the magical thinking that she comes across back home in Delhi. Intensely detailed and full of narrative clues, she creates her own rituals during the process of painting - rendering her paintings rich with talismanic properties.

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