This exhibition marks the presentation of Wendy Elia’s major new figurative painting, A Dance to the Music of Time II. For the first time, her original A Dance to the Music of Time I (1990), will be seen with its pendant, A Dance to the Music of Time II, which revisits its protagonists almost 30 years later. Both works depict siblings Alexi and Madeleine, Elia’s children, engaged in introspective acts of movement and music-making in tilting rooms with dream-like vistas.
Their titles derive from a seventeenth century painting by French master Nicolas Poussin, currently on display in London’s Wallace Collection. Like Poussin’s meditation on time, music, dance, and fortune, Elia’s oeuvre is replete with symbols and narrative mystery, alluding to myriad other artworks. Part psychological portraits, part exploration of the nature of creativity, part interior landscapes, part histories of London then and now, these paintings invite us to consider the fate of our own childhood aspirations.