Lesley Dickman - Flight
Wednesday 13 - Saturday 30 September 2023
'Flight expresses my continuing interest in the figure in motion as it intersects with a study of early painters such as the 18th century artist Goya and the 16th century artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. There are elements in some works of what I call 'in the moment', seen when a quizzical glance is exchanged between figures passing by, a humorous moment such as a bird landing on a head, a conversation between friends or an elevation in dance that can only be captured at a fleeting moment. Unlike the felt response to abstract art, working with the figure nearly always includes a narrative. Flight leaves the narrative open to interpretation, allowing the audience free to create their own stories.
Learning ballet for ten years as a child, I experienced a joy and freedom of expression through the body that was both expansive and primitive. I have attempted to capture that experience by imagining the movement itself and reliving the feeling of exaltation as I draw and paint. Flight is a response to that sense of freedom. It is a response to where we are now as women physically shake off the shackles of restraint in many of the contested areas that have over centuries traditionally belonged to men. There is a dichotomy, however, the long dresses belonging to a past era while restricting their movement also helps to exaggerate it as the soft fabric of their billowing skirts and dresses rise and wrap and fold around the figure.
Revisiting artists such as Goya and Bruegel with a feast of amazing figurative narratives extracted from the barbaric cruelty of war, historic biblical narratives and social setting of the times was an encouraging resource and inspiration. Of particular interest were the beautiful colour relationships, figures in pastel colour often emerging out of darkness. Using fast drying acrylic paint on canvas as the medium allowed me to work quickly. Gestural brushstrokes and the layering of paint helped bring the paintings to life.'