Lesley Dickman - Direction (online exhibition)

Wednesday 8 - Sunday 25 September 2021

Click here for artwork by Lesley Dickman

Tacit is mounting a series of new online exhibitions in response to the current Victorian restrictions. Starting with Lesley Dickman’s Direction, Keith Lawrence has curated a retrospective of the last 15 or so years of her work centred around movement and the figure in space.

Predominantly figurative, expressionistic work with its painterly gestures, emotively balanced tones and recurring themes oft revisited reveal a dedicated cohesive body of work in spite of time distant between individual pieces. Fuelled by the likes of German artists Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz, repetition of form, structure, pattern, tonality, palette are only too evident throughout.

The angled scarring of a (disused?) railway line tearing through a dystopian industrial landscape of Beside the Track (2020) is mirrored by The Remains – produced in 2006 and the earliest work in this exhibition – as the low-lying damaged structural form traverses a painterly ground. Anguine, skin-shed, it unites rather than divides the canvas, a sense repeated in the more amorphous garment-like shape in Imprints (2009) blanketing a similarly arid landscape. Scapes, suggestive and fleeting, are generally bleak, sparse, reflecting an environment damaged and in flux. Nostalgia speaks to reinterpretation of the construction of time and place, past and present: the most recent work - Ghost Town (2020) - infers a pandemic-induced isolation and solitude.

Garments or, more accurately, sculpted dresses play a central part in Dickman’s imagery. Ever the social commentator in questioning social constructs, to the artist dresses contribute to feminine identity and female portrayal in what they represent, the memories they hold, their history. As such, a woman can be defined by external appearance. Having grown up in a house submerged in pattern, fabric pins and dressmaker stands [Dickman’s mother was a costume designer for stage and TV] so there was very little separation between the creative process and day-to-day living. Her imagery in such work as Laced (2009) and Small Talk (2009) sees the dressmaker stands celebrated.

The container that contains and defines by inference.

Keith Lawrence, September 2021