THE SPELL, THE PLOT, & THE ETHER
By Suhaylah H
13 Soho Square | Soho | London | W1D 3QF
11:00am - 7:00pm | Tue - Sun | | 21.09 – 15.10
Exhibition Launch | 6:00pm - 9:00pm | 21.09
The ‘dreamscapes’ imagined in The Spell, The Plot, & The Ether arose from Suhaylah’s experiences of landscapes across East Anglia, from the fenlands, coasts and peaks of Eastern England to the historical city of Ely where she now resides. Suhaylah’s dreamscapes include both ‘natural’ features such as geological rifts, flowing fountains and twisting tree limbs, and ‘supernatural’ features like rocky outcroppings, shimmering lights and ghostly apparitions, all of which are summoned through vivid colour palettes. In both of the rooms in the exhibition Suhaylah’s dreamscapes surround a monolithic installation at the centre of each room, that functions as a lodestone through which the magic of her paintings pass both between each other, and to and between visitors.
Suhaylah’s dreamscapes include both large- and small-scale observations of her own explorations of East Anglian terrain – from the medieval ruins at Bury St. Edmunds to swampy reservoirs, quiet lakes, mossy rocks, woven bird nests, labyrinthine roots and tapestries of vines. Such experiences and reflections are collected through drawings, photographs, and films which attempt to record something of the intangible mysteries of these places, alongside written notes on ideas about myth, religion and history that may inspire her artistic symbolism. Each dreamscape begins with Suhaylah’s production of a textural map of the larger structures in the composition, followed by painting the meditative or diaphanous features which she had previously been captivated by, such as a distorted reflection or a dancing plant. Suhaylah then intuitively builds the world of the painting through a deluge of details and gestures using a predetermined and highly experimental colour palette chosen in response to the ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ environments she wished to portray.
The exhibition title The Spell, The Plot, & the Ether is a reference to a diary entry by Suhaylah, regarding a conversation that considered how entire worlds and stories can evolve from the details of land and life when given space to ruminate in one’s imagination. This title also denotes the visual dramas of stories which could be either drawn out of, or transposed onto, Suhaylah’s dreamscapes. Each element in the title of this exhibition functions as a homonym that represents Suhaylah’s journeys through landscapes, her creative process, and a visitor’s journeys through her dreamscapes:
The Spell denotes a state of enchantment, a cyclical period of time, a sign
The Plot denotes a story, a piece of land, a secret plan
The Ether denotes the place ‘beyond’ into which things may disappear, and even return from
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