Lindsey Bull: Night Rite

Show: Night Rite. Lindsey Bull.

“This is a painting, oil on canvas, which is small, measuring just 20.5cm square. The painting depicts a figure looming out of a dark background, wearing a mask and cloak. The eyes of the figure are the focal point. The whole face beneath the mask is painted in bright colours contrasting with the rest of the painting which reveals itself through a series of dark blue hues.

“For this particular painting I began with an image from a 1922 film called Häxan; Witchcraft through the ages – a wonderfully bizarre silent film, part documentary and part fiction on the history of witchcraft. There is a great scene where a coven of witches party the night away with demons and the Devil. They dance on crucifixes and generally perform all sorts of satanic rituals and activities.

“During this scene there was a masked figure that I was drawn to, an old woman holding a stick pointing at some skulls and other objects in a magic circle. The mysteriousness of the figure was of particular interest to me and it had a presence which I felt I could transfer into a painting.

“About four other versions of this painting were scrapped before finally making this one. I tried different sizes of canvas and a full length figure and a lighter palette but it wasn’t working and they didn’t have the intensity that I felt was needed. This painting was on the cusp of being destroyed as well, however it suddenly came through at the last minute.

“I like that sometimes fragile nature of painting when one or two marks can transform the image and it becomes something else very quickly. In this painting I needed to get rid of much of the information about the figure and instead suggest the form through a few brushstrokes. Absence is something that threads through all my work. The challenge is to see how much I can conceal in order to reveal the essence of an image.

“Chris Ofili’s painting Blue Riders, which I saw at his Tate retrospective in 2010, made me think about how you can do so much with just one colour and the subtlety of that has stayed with me. I wanted a similar gloomy quality, coupled with a kind of luminescence which suggests a mysterious moonlight.

Night Rite is a kind of murky magic on an intimate scale.”

Info: Lindsey Bull lives and works in Manchester, UK. Her work will be shown at The Manchester Contemporary with Castlefield Gallery, 28-30th September 2012. A solo exhibition with Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol, runs from 11th to 14th October 2012.

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Lindsey Bull: Night Rite was posted on August 14th, 2012 at 6.27am and is filed under Show and Tell. This entry has no comments (yet). You can follow any responses through the RSS 2.0 Feed.

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