Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeFeaturesReviewsReview: Inner Beauty at the LAKE Gallery

Review: Inner Beauty at the LAKE Gallery

The LAKE Gallery’s latest exhibition is supposed to be a collection of still lives, but are probably better described as lives on pause. It’s a fascinating collection of still life work, brought together to tell a story.

Not one particular story; that’s their purpose. That’s their reason for being. Each of the paintings evidences how still life can be used to do more than exemplify a skill set. Each painting looks at a memory, a place, an object of significance, and curates its setting to share something personal to the artist; a moment of their life, on pause. A still life.

I’m drawn to this exhibition, and will no doubt be drawn back to spend longer with it before the end of the month, because it’s subtly different. It’s clever.

And each work makes sense by itself. Useful considering it’s all for sale and I doubt (unless the gallery get a severe shot of luck) one collector will swoop in and buy the lot.

Fiona Philipps’ work isn’t her usual, straying from landscape and abstraction into paired-back figurative representation. The works are self-referential, rather than general, drawing on Philipps’ childhood, and memories of her grandmother’s home.

The objects in the paintings are therefore representations of a life of collecting. A life or gathering, and constructing a world for herself out of collected objects. Still life paintings of the things we use to create our nest.

Sherilyn Halligan, the other of the two artists at the LAKE gallery for ‘Inner Beauty’, is an abstract painter working towards representation. Her expressive multi-media works are rarely distinguishable but take their inspiration from spaces, people and places to share a sense of them, rather than the form of them.

Here though, Halligan works into her abstractions with collage and line to develop recognisable forms. Rooms, furniture, heirlooms and objects find their way into highly adapted compositions.

Both artists, individually and collaboratively, ask a question of the purpose and usefulness of still life painting. It’s not a new question, but it’s one that’s always worth remembering because still life doesn’t need to be a purposeless presentation of stuff and things. Objects mean a lot to us. That’s the world we live in.

Inner Beauty is open at The LAKE Gallery, West Kirby, until 27th July
Words, Patrick Kirk-Smith