Mountain Fold is pleased to announce our first exhibition, Shadows in the Never-Never, which features works by three young artists: Antonia Dixon, Sophia Dixon and Megha Gupta.
In this group show, mysterious landscapes of deep forests, rocky mountains, and succulent beds are rendered through watercolor, pencil drawing and oil painting. There is an emotional complexity to these works that underlies the visual seductiveness of ecstatic color and hyper-realistic detail. The artists communicate their emotions of joy, fear, grief and fragile desire through hints and shadows. Their artwork proposes non-monolithic, bifurcated modes of expression and perception.
Antonia Dixon’s watercolor collage depicts a wooded landscape at sunset. A female figure seated in the foreground of the painting watches a naked couple at the far edge of a lake. Dixon, who begins each of her drawings as an adventure into the unknown, allows paint to flow uncontrolled over the paper, so that it forms rivulets and shapes that she then meticulously outlines and patterns. She asserts control over these stains by reclaiming them as forest, water, and sky, and ultimately by weaving them into a narrative. Washes of green become a magical forest, but the explosion of lush foliage and color contains a startlingly lonely story, in which the viewer participates as voyeur to a scene of voyeurism.
In Sophia Dixon’s large-scale pencil drawing, Pyramids Underground, two mountains intersect to form a V, cutting the lake behind into an inverted triangle of negative space and ushering the viewer into an abyss. The self-enclosure of the symmetrical geometric composition is complicated by the shape-shifting animation of both the rocks that compose the mountain and the mountains themselves. Individual stones appear as faces and skulls, creating crowd scenes within each mountain, and the mountains slip between monument and discard: they function simultaneously as pyramids and piles of debris. Although the mountains frame a vacant nothing, the true subject of the drawing is not the central dark lake, but rather the peripheral rubble, which is pulsing with life.
Megha Gupta’s oil painting Sophia in the Succulents portrays the titular girl crouching in an idyllic desert landscape crowned by a pinkish purple cotton candy sky. She coyly conceals her face with a tiger mask, presenting the viewer with an ambiguous invitation. Gupta’s sensual use of color and paint ensnare the viewer, and evoke an erotic trance state that thwarts an establishment of psychological narrative. Intense patterns on clothing and hair further the sense of unreality. They serve as loci of hypnotic focus and encourage a wandering, jumping, lingering gaze, which loses perception of the boundaries between figure and landscape. The girl’s mysterious identity evaporates into her psychotropical pastoral.