Our eleventh visiting artist was Lindsey Bull, a figurative painter based in Manchester. Her work explores psychological states, reality, and illusion through the medium of oil painting. She was recently selected for Liverpool Biennial Associate Artist Programme 2016-18, and she was shortlisted for the British Contemporary Painting Prize in 2011.
The figures in Bull’s paintings tend to be quite introverted, often turned away from the viewer, but not simply passive, but avoiding the gaze. There is an element of secrecy or shyness here, but their outwards appearances are often eccentric, wearing odd clothing, makeup, and styled hair to create great characters. This creates an interesting dynamic between the outward appearance of the figures and their inner lives – is Bull exploring how these subcultures are secreted away from mainstream culture? Is she celebrating or criticising this isolation? The avoidance of the gaze casts the viewer as an interloper, trying to gain access to these identities and lives to no avail, whilst poignantly capturing a moment of identity and personally in the gestures and postures of the figures. This fleeting element to the paintings is reflected in the ethereality of her work, soft edges creating a blurry, fantastical atmosphere, combining fantasy and reality.
Bull exhibited some of her work at the Liverpool Biennial 2016, Evergreen, and Smoke, both oils on canvas.