TALES OF THE CITY, TALES OF THE SEA
By James Dearlove
13 Soho Square | Soho | London | W1D 3QF
11:00am - 7:00pm | Tue - Sun | | 19.10 – 15.11
Exhibition Launch | 6:00pm - 9:00pm | 19.10
The artwork presented in multi-award-winning artist James Dearlove‘s solo exhibition Tales of the City, Tales of the Sea at BWG Gallery, includes paintings from the last 2 years installed throughout the gallery’s 3 rooms. In these paintings Dearlove imagines the contemporary human experience, issues of modern society and his own personal journey, using depictions of human bodies, many of whom are heaped together and set adrift in urban or rural landscapes, that are haunted by animals and therianthropic beings composed of human and animal body parts. There is a strong sense of the uncanny experienced within Dearlove’s paintings, his presentation of twilit realms at once feeling both familiar and unsettling, emanating both desire and disquietude.
The title of this exhibition was inspired by the musician PJ Harvey’s album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, and alludes to the sea change that occurred when Dearlove moved from London to live by the coast in Southwest England; and his life as a queer person in the heart of a city and now the remote countryside. Dearlove’s life experiences have led him to use his paintings to blur and transgress the boundaries between dualistic oppositions such as natural and cultural, rural and urban, light and dark, desire and disquietude, intimacy and alienation, and figuration and abstraction.
Like the painter Francis Bacon, Dearlove’s paintings reflect an artistic interest in uncanny experiences of unhomely domestic interiors; paranormal phenomena; therianthropic hybridisations; and photographic source material. The main artistic influence on Dearlove’s paintings, however, lies in the work of Neo-Romantic artists like Keith Vaughan and John Craxton. These artists (like Bacon) were responding both to the horrors of the second world war and their struggles with their homosexuality; and so too do Dearlove’s paintings hint at what he describes as “the swirling emotional storm of living through such turbulent and unpredictable times”.
Preview the full exhibition text above