"Furnished" Exhibition Featuring Tahnee Lonsdale
Fuelled by a quest for an empowered female voice and leavened with a mordant wit, ’Furnished’ mines the tension between familial expectations and creative expression. In this new body of work, Lonsdale explores why women are so affronted by social expectations and perceptions; gender roles often passed down by mothers which undermine female strength. At the heart of each painting is not only a personal struggle but a universal one; it is about love and pain, repression and submission.
Bemused with the archaic domestic expectations laid upon her, Tahnee randomly built balanced towers of dollhouse furniture, which she photographed and traced onto large canvases, removing them from their tiny origins. With paint, these vulnerable childhood artefacts blossomed into domestic scenes - figures emerge from abstraction; glitches become real. The paintings are raw and fleshy, clinical tones transformed into meaty pinks, tongues and phalluses, with the chair, and its domestic origins, omnipresent throughout.
For Tahnee, process gives her time to develop an idea. Domestic objects take on figurative forms and sit centre stage. A chair begins as an object of singular value and evolves into an opinion. How can it be removed from its domestic purpose and become an archetype, possibly even an object of sexual desire?
Sex is a charged theme throughout- a domestic scene becomes an orgy, shapes transmute and sexual imagery delineates.
In this series, Tahnee made four small canvases titled “Mostly Thinking About Sex”, particularly the lack of it; the lack of sex, self and connection. Chairs, stuffed with bed sheets and plastic, are stacked and entwine; the installation figurative before its deconstruction.
Renowned contemporary arts moderator Joy Gidden referenced Matisse’s Harmony in Red in connection with Tahnee's previous work ‘Self-Portrait in the Kitchen’, which gave Lonsdale a new frame of reference to explore.
In her own words, Tahnee describes how she, ‘proceeded to borrow Van Gogh’s bed, above which there is a window with Matisse’s view; sex and commentary persist. The male artist seeks to claims his privilege but I have the last word. I’m not sure how and why these patriarchs belong in my personal world, caught up in the intricacies of angsty post-feminism, but… they somehow do.
When we marry, we essentially step into a foreign yet familiar role - we are born into it yet we enter an unknown terrain of adulthood, marriage and ownership. A union of love is at once binding and comforting; safe and restricting, it is push and pull. With children, it reaches fever pitch. How does one juggle being both a wife and a mother, at once sexual and maternal?
I figured out early how to keep quiet, lips sealed, hands and feet tied, but still I am carrying the weight of our sum-of-parts. I cannot submit or fully resist; I paint instead. The artist and mother archetypes housed within me may never merge in my life, but on the canvas they keep one another at bay.’
About Tahnee Lonsdale:
Tahnee Lonsdale’s paintings represent the newest direction in semi-abstract painting. Whimsical figures and other objects populate vibrant fields of colour that suggest anything from domestic interiors to wild landscapes. Her compositions are inspired as much by her surrounding as her personal beliefs. At once both detailed and dreamy, Lonsdale’s work leaves just enough to the imagination. A narrative, often involving a journey of sorts, is clearly implied, though it is up to the viewer with the aid of Lonsdale’s colourful titles, to piece together all the elements of the story being told.
In 2012 Roberta Moore Contemporary started to represent Tahnee and the following year showed her collection 'waiting for entry into that holy place' followed by ‘Your Epoche’ in 2015.
These collections garnered the attentions of Rebecca Wilson of Saatchi Art, who selected Tahnee as one of ’12 artists to invest in now’.
Tahnee Lonsdale holds a BA from the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. Since graduating in 2007, she has been short-listed for a number of awards including both the Dazed and Confused Emerging Artist Award and ‘100 Painters of Tomorrow’. Her work has been exhibited widely in her native Britain, as well as in the United States at venues such as the Orange County Centre for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, CA, and is part of collections globally. Lonsdale currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
About Roberta Moore Contemporary
Roberta Moore Contemporary (RMC) specialises in showcasing emerging and established international contemporary artists. RMC presents an annual programme of ‘pop-up’ exhibitions in unique and unusual spaces throughout London and the UK, in addition to a range of collaborations linking artists, audiences and brands.
10 - 16 May 2017
Herrick Gallery, 93 Piccadilly, London W1J 7NQ