Silvia Battista The cultural references for Battista’s exquisitely detailed pencil drawings are early Italian renaissance painting. Her re-thinking of the work of artists such Pontorno, Antonello da Messina and Masaccio, especially their understanding of the human figure is re-interpreted through a contemporary lens. Her technique originates from a radicalized approach of the classical use of cross-hatching; enabling content and form to emerge from a state of consciousness that is meditative and mindful. Drawing is the creative tool through which Battista explores ideas, studies forms, visualizes possibilities and initiates stories. When Battista moved to London in 2000 she was an assistant to the Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans. Throughout she has created an extensive archive of small, medium and large-size drawings that have been exhibited in UK, Iceland, USA and Italy.
Lydia Brockless Much of Brockless’ sculptural work deals with paradoxes, these complex contradictions are materialised in the combinations of processes and forms. Many of her sculptures employ traditionally feminine craft methods, which pay homage to the design and craft skills of her late mother and grandmother. However, for Brockless, the soft and comfortable of the surface of the object is subjected to a number of destructive processes such as cutting, melting and bleaching, which in turn negate their original properties as crafted textile items. These interruptions to form and surface appear to simultaneously challenge and embrace the concept of becoming (something else). As Brockless says: ‘the duality which exists in the making of my sculptures serves to embody the paradox of pleasure and pain we experience as we meet, grow attached to, and lose, other people.’
Daniel Hosego In his series called Melancholia (after Dürer) Hosego explores the anxieties of contemporary artists in their attempt to forge an original artistic vision. Consisting of a triptych of screen-printed artworks that originated from images, first painstakingly drawn across the pages of leather bound books, the works appear to occupy a liminal state between object and image. The works appropriate the visual language of master printmaker Albrecht Durer as an allusion to the age old Hermetic notion of the artist as a melancholic; as laid down by Cornelius Agrippa in De Occulta Philosophia and popularised by Durer’s seminal engraving, Melancholia 1(1514). Throughout the works these aesthetic sensibilities are reinforced with Renaissance and Baroque imagery appropriated from the deep pool available in art history. These are further juxtaposed with references to contemporary art practices transforming the work into a discursive site of artistic frustration within the modern art establishment.
Margherita Isola The nature of Isola’s practice is one that is difficult to pin down as it is a composed of a heterogeneous set of practices: performance, installation, conceptual intervention, embroidery, low-tech video and graphic arts. For this Platform show at the Leyden Gallery Isola will show works which belong to her new project called Hamlet in Harar, which is presented here as a series of embroidered collages of mixed technique. The central tenet of Hamlet in Harar is the desire to rewrite a “Family History” - a history about which little is known. This project is presented as an attempt to remember a dark chapter of personal and political histories. It moves between the barbarism of Italians at war in Ethiopia, and the personal story of her own migratory grandfather Amleto. The work emerges here as a series poised between a public catharsis and a family constellation.
Johann Lester Lester studied Art History in Brighton but left prior to completion to focus his energies on his own art practice. Since then Lester has been creating a body of work that has been produced by only using the marks of black biros. He bridges the gap between the image and photo-realism to produce distinct and arresting pieces, which make striking use of light. Photographic restraints have given way to a beautiful interpretation. The photographic detail, coupled with his individual artistry ensures that Lester’s pieces are an amalgamation of the beautiful and alarming, and are undeniably individual. The depth of tone and rich saturation in each of his unique images brings the subject to us in a deeply haunting and personal way.
Conor Flynn O’Donnell Through his abstract painting practice O’Donnell engages the question of perfection, in what way it may exist, and how we may continually seek it. O’Donnell considers how the brain attempts to re-align things into a perceived perfect grid shape - even when things are obviously misaligned. The eye and brain are not accurate but are the best possible reasoning, given the available data. His work aims to manipulate this data using the accuracies or inaccuracies in his work as a form of language. His practice, described by O’Donnell as ‘meta’, addresses the notion of how and why we look at art and how the brain reacts when it is given something familiar, in an unfamiliar way. Using methods that embrace imperfections rather than fight against them, his work is in effect discussing painting through painting, where the process is the subject.
Olexandra Solomka Olexandra completed her degree in fine art at Loughborough University in 2013, since then, she has been focusing on the art of portraiture and on further developing her technical skill. The artist draws her influences from Tudor-age portraiture, as well as Eastern European iconography and folk art. Solomka works in oil paint for the portrait and acrylics for backgrounds, as she finds the nature of oil paint reflects the qualities of skin, while acrylic paint has the vivid and bright quality seen in iconography and folk art.
Sintija Vikmane Sintija Vikmane studied Art history in Riga, Latvia. Through her art, she researches the convergence of history, beliefs and mythology from diverse cultures in an attempt to make engaging and critical art. Expressing herself through various artistic media she aims to make conceptually and physically provocative art that opens up a space for dialogue. Vikmane’s artistic skills are rooted in classicism and her knowledge of art history. One of her artistic influences is Mark Rothko, a fellow Latvian. His paintings inspired her to focus on abstract expressionism and ways to consider looking at art as a religious experience. Francis Bacon is another strong influence. Known for his bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery, his paintings influenced her to work with the human figure, portraying inner emotional space rather than external appearances. Her artworks aim at capturing the essence of things rather than an exact photographic copy of them. Vikmane suggests that images filtered through a prism of a personality gain a certain additional value, unseen in photographs.