Drawing inspiration from speculative fiction and the occult, Jessie Makinson builds her mischievous, uncanny paintings through an intuitive accretion of gesture, form, and color. As her marks coalesce into figures, a narrative emerges. The artist mines art history and science fiction alike to present scenes of sexuality and lurking menace. In Makinson’s paintings, everything is made up of the same substance; there is no hierarchy. Her underpainting provides a chaotic ground that structures the play of form and figures. The viewer is first drawn to her highly rendered faces, but attention quickly slips as the eye travels through the painting’s tangle of shapes and colors. The underpainting can look bruised, miasmic—an undefined presence which seeps into the tightly differentiated surface of pastels and deep shadows. It is this dance of environmental chaos and the stillness of the figures which gives the paintings their frantic, gripping energy.
Stuart Lorimer’s paintings begin with the figure, each character assuming their position as though a curtain lifts on a stage. Situated in paved landscapes and impossible architectural spaces, they catch our gaze through a mirror or wall of windows. One or more of these figures seem haunted by familiar apparitions from art history—Goya, Manet, Munch. Confounding details complicate the paintings via narrative twists—at times funny, sad, perverse, and grave. A pregnant yogi foregrounds an idling hearse; a dog pile of long-faced brothers and sisters pose with uncertainty. Lorimer’s paintings aren’t political per se, but feel wrapped up in allegory and existential worry. Painted in bold primaries with graphic precision and a proclivity for charcoal under drawing, you sense that Lorimer developed these pictures slowly, allowing them to reveal their meanings over time.