Oil on canvas, 139.7 x 127 cm
LA-based, British artist Tahnee Lonsdale creates compelling paintings that address relationships, gender, and female empowerment. Her paintings are a mirror into our world while presenting a personal journey that balances the ambiguous roles of a 21st-century mother, woman, artist. Where women experience a push and pull interplay between internalised roles and external demands, they are entangled and embroiled in a history of expectations wedded to a nurturing and delicate persona, simultaneously existing in an expansive space for women's inherent independence, power, and strength.
Concerned with the representation of women and feminism, the artist considers the complexities of the human condition and personal relationships in her work. Lonsdale gives a voice to her position: 'For me, being a woman is integral to my work,' Lonsdale says, 'it is my main resource.' Her vivid paintings speak volumes by examining how gender roles and relationships play out behind closed doors.
The exhibition sees Lonsdale's protest of the here and now with expressive, bending, shape-shifting nudes that represent the body as a locus of experience rather than a site observed. Instead of indulging in mimesis, she paints the figure with a persuasive force that can change one's stance according to the different values and systems the creator attributes to them. Lonsdale's artistic process begins with an assemblage of symbolic structures and soft sculptures that are physical manifestations of her ideas. She often photographs configurations of discarded furniture as the basis for her work. 'They have a human quality', Lonsdale observes 'there is a sense that I have disturbed an intimate moment. In the act of documenting these scenes, I have become the voyeur.'
The use of found furniture as a sculptural arrangement suggests a presence of the human form without the figure. It is a way of addressing the human condition in its contemporary state without addressing the classical heroic form. While her paintings often bear a resemblance to the original assemblage, Lonsdale says 'others have unravelled into purely figurative works, varying between lethargic oafs copulating and lithe bodies in sensual acts of intimacy. They still bare the bones of their domestic origins, but their curves and shapes have transmuted to become scenes of an often sexual nature.'
Colour is a material basis for the artist's conceptual framework. Lonsdale paints a radiant scene of pneumatic anatomies with layered brushwork. The vivid strobe of yellow, so long a colour associated with the transgressive avant-garde, decadence, and beauty is a strong presence as the luminescence lifts the spirit and raises one's vision. Lonsdale's paintings present to us an impression of our times: a complex journey through multitudes and dichotomies. One that is neither simple nor sessile, but in a state of flux, ever challenging and evolving.
Tahnee Lonsdale holds a BA from the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. Since graduating in 2007, she has been short-listed for both the Dazed and Confused Emerging Artist Award and "100 Painters of Tomorrow." Her work has been met with critical acclaim, and she has exhibited widely in her native Britain. Lonsdale's paintings have been exhibited at Saatchi Gallery and Somerset House, while she has also enjoyed numerous solo exhibitions in London. Her work has caused tremors in the American art scene, with solo exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York, and showing in institutions such as the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, CA. Lonsdale currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
© Tahnee Lonsdale