Layla Rudneva-Mackay’s latest exhibition is comprised of paintings of flowers. Although a signifcant deviation from the photographic works she has become known for; her distinctive approach to subject matter, treatment and medium are still evident here and in this light the new works are less of a deviation than they may frst appear.
As a photographer, Rudneva-Mackay’s practice often involved studies of arranged subjects – people, objects and settings – revealing an interest in form and patches or felds of colour in a way that was clear but not explicit. Instead, the images’ relation to language is detached, as
if the visuality of the works is underlined by a certain silence or a poetic turn in title.
The paintings currently on show are reminiscent of Post-Impressionist works and recall their observation of what has been traditionally considered less lofty artistic genres. Created at a time when painting was processing the advent of photography as a documentary commonplace it was clear, next to the new medium’s formalism and austerity, that paintings of flowers could be more interesting than the Academies might have first thought.
A vase of flowers might also be a cone and circles. And what is it to show someone something rather than telling them? The act of observation and its material expression
demands a radical slowness and humility of gesture – painted or otherwise – and the steady, abstracting attention of the eye…all things that defne Rudneva Mackay’s practice.
Press release courtesy Starkwhite.