Review: Michael Lacey – New Mythologies at Editions Ltd

editions Michael Lacey

Michael Lacey – New Mythologies

at Editions Ltd. Friday 23 October – Saturday 14 November 2015

Words and photographs by Patrick Kirk-Smith

New Mythologies works fantastically with its name, and equally well with its city. The landscape collages use bits and pieces from every day memories of Liverpool, combined with recognisable landmarks and popular imagery creating wildly exciting dreamscapes that everyone can relate to.

When we think of myth, it is important to remember the lack of a definite story, from various versions of Hansel and Gretel to tales of witches and wolves. Stories that shift and change, with constant additions and countless different versions of stories from different perspectives. That element of myth which is so crucial to the narrative of these landscapes is reflected brilliantly in the collage – the bringing together of new elements; the personalisation of the story.

The collage has that combination of daftness and skill that will always remind us of Terry Gilliam, but with a theme that justifies it. The production value of the collage, and the detail is instantly striking, something that focuses the eye and ties in elements of graphic illustration and fine art. It is a strong show from an artist constantly gaining more and more, very much deserved, popularity.

These are Lacey’s dreamscapes, his story. He describes the work as “loosely autobiographical, self-mythologising”, and it is. The exhibition is a look into his own world – but as is the case for most of us, if we show others our world they will, more often than not, recognise most of it. The works are an exploration of the human psyche for the viewer, and demonstrate how even in the most surreal of thoughts, there are elements of humour, of contemplation, reflection and serenity.

And the outstanding element seems to be serenity, leaving chances to reflect on the work, and its relation to everyday life and familiar structures as, in Lacey’s words, “Nature teems with ambiguous intent and wildly improbable architectural structures sprout like weeds.” A statement which almost sums up that section of the work, but falls down in calling the buildings weeds. The intricate connections are certainly architectural, but stand out as giants knot weeds, feeling alive, often forming satisfying repetitive patterns and dominating their landscapes, and whatever narratives the viewer might form.

Most importantly with this exhibition, it is a struggle to interpret the works, creating a huge variation of emotional responses to each piece. It is crucial to point out though, that that is the purpose of myth: to tell a story, and to piece together the bits, and leave the rest to interpretation. It is an exhibition that summons feelings of childhood, being immersed in uninhibited imagination.

Also read the Featured Artist interview HERE

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