Panter and Hall will be hosting an exhibition of the figurative painter Audrey Grant 10-26 September. The show will feature studies of dancers based on her ongoing drawing research project with Scottish Ballet. Audrey is a rising star of the contemporary Scottish art scene and one of the freshest, most exciting artists working in the media today.
The dance figure paintings have been ongoing since 2012 where the artist has been attending rehearsals to undertake intense observational drawing of the dancers in movement. The standing or seated figure has been a subject for much longer and seeks to express the more contemplative, interior side of expression.
The poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke has inspired Grant for many years and in particular the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies. In the larger paintings have consciously lifted phrases from Rilke’s poetry and scratched them into the surface, embedding them in the paint above the figures. Hence the titles of these works – ‘Truly being here is glorious’, ‘Be ahead of all parting’.
Stephen Spender in his commentary on Rilke’s Elegies (Hogarth Press 1963) suggests that these two collections, “may be regarded as the expressions of two distinguishable but inseparable moments in Rilke’s attitude to life’, that of Praise in the Sonnets and Lament in the Elegies. It struck the artist that these two themes seemed to somehow reflect the two sets of figures that she was painting – praise as in the dance figures and lament in the standing and seated figures – although there is praise and lament in both. The viewer will, however, draw his or her own conclusions, Ms Grant suggests.
“This new body of paintings continues my exploration of the human figure and the painted surface through two subjects – the dance figure and the seated or standing figure”; the artist stated in preparation for the exhibition.
Either way, all figures grow out of a dialogue with the paint and are invented and imagined, not specific to an individual. The act of painting is an emotional and physical process for this painter. Paint is layered on over a period of time, often scraped back and added to again to create a ‘working surface’ on the canvas where she can move things around until a figure begins to emerge. The paint is applied with brushes, palette knives and rags, as though she is trying to uncover or excavate something, allowing the figure to emerge over time.”
Audrey Grant ‘New Paintings’. 10th-26th September. – Panter and Hall, 11-12 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.