Autumn Double Exhibition
Hay Hill Gallery
art, painting, contemporary
Hay Hill Gallery is presenting a double exhibition this autumn, featuring the paintings of Igor Tcholaria and Natalia Gromicho.
Tcholaria finds beauty in the everyday, placing porcelain-skinned women within heavily patterned backgrounds, a Modilgliani-esque take on iconography. He plays around with contrasts of volume, changing his mind between two and three dimensional effects, loud and soft colours. Sooty eyes peer out from under flattened hats, their pale skirts and pantaloons billow out around them. Some works could be decadent costume designs for an art nouveau burlesque; other images are reminiscent of childhood storybook worlds with bright little birds hiding in the branches. They are tapestries of circus performers and harlequins, wooden horses and puppet shows, illustrations from the backs of playing cards.
Though chaotic in appearance, the works are precisely arranged. Nothing is there by accident; every colour is given feeling with specific texture and by its proximity to other colours. The push and pull of the colours creates a soothing optical illusion- we drift in and out of imaginariums, stirred awake by more than a nod to those old masters who first inspired him.
Natália Gromicho’s expressive technique is also concerned with the idea of perception and reality. Her canvases are as energetic as the Lisbon streets with desiccating slogans and sunset red riots, and it is easy to see the personal influence of this vivid city. Painted lines scrawl over deserted pastel buildings, the ubiquitous graffiti contrasting with the multiple layers. Gromicho controls temperature and atmosphere as though adjusting a thermostat or volume button. The dialled tones range across canvas from cool-eyed blues to fiery madder hues. Her highly pigmented glazes gloss over boundaries between figures and abstractions, creating a shift in focus and scale. The use of wet and dry brushwork adds to the subtle variations in mood- shiny as slick taillights in the rain, as grubby as the exhaust fumes that blacken the puddles.
The recurring image of a headless and armless female mannequin verges on the surreal, and within this metaphysical framework Gromicho paints with an anything-might-happen wildness. Her paintings slowly piece together a philosophical mosaic- and with more and more of her work in demand, her unique vision only gets clearer.