Through the Looking-Glass

May 5 - June 1 2021

Janet Rady Fine Art is pleased to present Through the Looking-Glass showcasing works by four artists: Malekeh Nayiny, Robert Twigger, Lanre Buraimoh and Tajsar Jafari. Taking its title from the novel by Lewis Carroll, these artists each variously explore their fantastical worlds. Online only from 5th May to 1st June.

Life, what is it but a dream?

Alice’s adventure in Through the Looking-Glass is a dream and this concluding question of the novel reminds us that one can never be sure that life is more than a dream, since it is made of fleeting memories, arbitrary machinations, and essentially meaningless conclusions.

Surviving Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic was a revelatory moment for Malekeh Nayiny. At first feeling a little despondent, when she did eventually find the motivation to return to her art, to her surprise, she found herself adopting a very different approach to that she had followed prior to her illness. Leaving behind a concern for the concept of what she was creating, her paintings appear, as if spontaneously, by themselves, like doodling. ‘The entire process felt much less structured and enjoyable, and the work felt incredibly genuine.’ And so she went ‘In search of Alice’, an elegiac childlike world where rabbits unexpectedly pop out of holes and exotic plants and creatures co-inhabit a monochromatic space.

Robert Twigger exemplifies outsider art. An extract from his recent blog sums up twiggerland.

  • 21. Art is not pure. Speak of something real. Use it to say something important.
  • 22. Think about straight lines, subtle lines, outlining.
  • 23. Is black a colour…sometimes.
  • 24. Think about vitality rather than ‘how good is it’. Does this picture have vitality?
  • 25. People are scared of the heroic and drawn to buffoonery, irony, undermining. Find a place for the heroic, even a small place.
  • 26. Primitive art parallels the rediscovery of the bass note, the bass line, the heavy bass. Repeating a bass note may be all that is needed. Find where the bass note is in your picture or art.
  • 27. Beauty is like a pure note.

Borrowing from traditional symbols and his own imagination to connect the lines of his artworks, Lanre Buraimoh’s paintings have traces of cubist inspiration and have grown more direct over time. In fact, they remind him of how he drew when he was young, working as an apprentice to his parents. ‘I entertained my siblings and friends with my drawings, mostly executed with a piece of stick on a wet ground.’ Continuing this process-based practice, first, he draws on a board and applies an adhesive to the area he wants to work in. Slowly, he places the tiny beads on the adhesive and fills in the design until the surface of the board is covered with thousands of brilliant glass beads.

Tajsar Jafari’s self-taught art is the product of intuition, and as an outsider artist she reveals what has not been seen by anyone else. As she states, the unspoken revelation of secrets and needs is the unintended and primitive consequence of presence, focused on the experience of strange dreams or private perceptions of personal worlds. Tajsar Jafari’s embroidered cotton gardens are a reflection of the same world. The kind of life style that is now a dream; the world of the past and the lost, mixed with colours and flowers and birds.

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