Squeeze: George Rouy at Hannah Barry Gallery, London | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Squeeze: George Rouy at Hannah Barry Gallery, London

"Four Lounging," 2018, George Rouy, 160h x 240w cm, Acrylic on canvas
(Photo credit Damian Griffiths)

Single figures are paired alongside a monumental swan in George Rouy’s on going exhibition this spring. The Hannah Barry Gallery in London is hosting the exhibition of new creations by Rouy, titled “Squeeze Hard Enough It Might Just Pop!” The exhibition runs until March 17, 2018.

The subjects occupying George Rouy’s painted universe of sense and desire are at the same time enigmatic as well as erotic. Using the soft pigmentation and employing a balanced composition, these images evoke a classical sense of beauty – especially the figures, the particular feeling they churn out of their audience’s mind brings back the memories of pre-industrial spiritualism, the very feeling that one can find in Greek mythology. Yet a charged darkness surrounds these images. The paintings echo the same feeling even while portraying the grass, as if they are spiked like a broken glass. George Rouy’s paintings bring back a heady space: a paradoxical sensation of scale alongside the weightlessness. This feeling translates the displacement of the human subject portrayed in recent times. The feeling it conveys is at once ephemeral and timeless in the representations of its figures. The works evoke and strong and inherent sense of nihilism in the ambivalent expressions and the settings that are devoid of a context. At times, it seems very much like these characters have been ruthlessly chopped out of their natural surroundings and abruptly folded into an absolute sea of blue – we keep on encountering them lost, amid the Giotto’s pre-Renaissance space and between the blue screens of death. The show’s part artificial, part absurd and part absolute truth enables Rouy’s works to explore and experience an emotional vulnerability which is matched by their soft physicality, and all of which have been ruthlessly trapped in the confines of a canvas, squeezed between the margins.

One of the paintings of a figure features a tiny cut from where it is bleeding, and others also carry their share of despair in a shell or starfish. As if these paintings have found words here to expose some of the new clues that in turn lead away from their predetermined narratives and take them back into the audience’s own thoughts and beyond.

The exhibition will be complemented by a pamphlet that will have texts written by Charlie Mills and Caroline Levy, and it will be designed by Niall Reynolds. Jacob Wise designs the poster of the show and Rouy has collaborated with Jesse Pollock to shape up a pair of benches for the venue that will be called “Cuddler and Swan.” This speculative and precise design enable the perfect space for the visitors to find the comfort in the limbo of muted places, strange beasts and slippery edges.

The show is on view through March 17, 2018, at Hannah Barry Gallery, 4 Holly Grove, London SE15 5DF.

For details, visit: http://www.blouinartinfo.com/galleryguide/hannah-barry-gallery/overview

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the artworks.