February 16th – March 16th 2018
In this exhibition of Dickon Drurys recent paintings we find ourselves sheltering from the snow in the Home-Studio of an unseen artist. Clad with warmly coloured wooden paneling, the walls are home to a myriad of objects and images. Windows which are left ajar allow gusts of snow to occasionally blow in, forming a fragile connection between interior and exterior spaces.
In ‘Work-bench with Underwood’ a typewriter sits, loaded with a blank page, accompanied by blank note-books; an uneaten sandwich, and a still-burning cigarette. On the wall hangs various hand-tools and a print of ‘Hunters in the snow’ by Pieter Bruegel.
Meanwhile, in the boldly graphic and near-monochrome ‘Black Swan’ we encounter the death of a magnificent ornamental bird. Its red beak mirrors the wound in its chest. Black feathers burst outwards, mingling with snowflakes behind the falling animal.
Back inside the retreat we begin to understand that the swan’s death was an incident experienced by the Artist. In a number of interior paintings we see the maquettes she has made in response to this experience. Elegant coloured lumps balance precariously, while others are penetrated and skewered. Weight, balance and support play a key role in the maquette paintings, and gravity becomes a recurring theme throughout the exhibition. Shelves hold the weight of various plants, objects, small-sculptures and food stuffs. In ‘House of Cards’, the flimsy tower of images gives way. Cards flutter down to earth, echoing the falling feathers and snowflakes in ‘Black Swan’.
The tools used in the construction of the artist’s works are hung on nails in the walls, along with posters and postcards of inspirational paintings and sculptures. These images within the paintings skip through art history. From Michelangelo’s ‘Leda and the Swan’ through Bruegel, Munch, Matisse, Magritte and Moore. On one of the shelves in ‘Red Table with Maquettes’ we can see a winged-vase, evoking the work of British ceramicist Colin Pearson. After piecing together the dates of these art-works we might make a guess at the time period in which the narrative is based.
To try and understand the location, we look through windows and beyond a row of buildings, to glimpse a familiar pair of frozen lakes and a jagged mountain-range. In doing so, we realize that the studio we are holed-up in, is in fact located within the fictional town that Bruegels ‘Hunters in the snow’ are returning to.