From press release:
Mothflower will be a new exhibitor at this year's London Art Fair, presenting work by three exceptional international artists in the fair's curated section, Platform. This year, the theme in Platform is 'Music and Its Part in Contemporary Visual Art'.
Ian Felice's creative process consists of visual, literary and musical exploration. While each practice exists independent of the others, the connection between them is undeniable. They serve as reservoirs for constant inspiration, interchangeable and always accessible for the formation of his new work.
Felice is uninterested in the trends and compositional conventions of the mainstream. His approach to painting is intuitive and characteristically naive, paving the way for work that is full of conviction, originality, and imagination. Through all aspects of his work, Ian bravely investigates the inner and outer chaos caused by modernity. While it is a powerful force for progress and growth, the unsettling upheaval that comes along with it effects us both personally and collectively, causing symptoms of grief, delusions, and isolation as well as impacting our dreams. These themes are commonly examined in Ian's paintings with the very same tender, melancholic sensitivity pervading his writing and music.
The children disassemble the fences
To the soft cadence of morning.
For us, these ribboned adornments
Ask too little of themselves, too much of others.
What you see is not always what you get,
A wolfish world checkered with houses
And manicured grounds. The clippings fall,
Pell-mell to compose a provincial scene.
One can make out a woman dipping candles,
Eight maids a-milking under dead poplars.
But the greater part of the foreground
Falls away in an eerie black glaze,
As if one false step could prove fatal.
On the face of it, only colour and harmony.
- from Ian's new book of poems, The Moon Over Edgar
One of Ian's paintings in this presentation directly references a musical piece. 'On Blueberry Hill' is a tribute to the song composed by Vincent Rose in 1940. The original version of the song was sung by Gene Autry in 'The Singing Hill' and would go on to be performed by numerous jazz bands over the years. As the song rose in popularity, Louis Armstrong recorded his own version with Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra in 1949, which became a Top 40 Hit. He went on to perform several of his own renditions of the song, including a notable performance with Bing Crosby in 1950. While their version was a widely known hit, it was Fats Domino's 1956 rendition of 'Blueberry Hill' that would make the song go down in history. That year, it reached 2nd on the Billboard Top 40 making it one of the greatest hits of the year and by far the most memorable to date.
Like any great storyteller, Ian Felice makes us wonder and want to know more. He lives in Upstate NY with his family, is a member of the Felice Brothers band, and received his BFA in Painting at Pratt Institute in New York City. Ian Felice is represented by Mothflower.
Travis MacDonald is a painter and musician based in Melbourne. In his own experience, the way a painting is composed can be very similar to the formation of a song. Both creative practices are interchangeable. The base layer of an underpainting, not unlike the bass layer in a song, determines the dominant key. Arranged on top are layers of tones, patterns and rhythms. Music-making and painting draw upon an economy of translucency, resonance, harmony, dissonance and timing — each one complimenting the others. In this way, the artist's own unique vision and feeling is expressed. The cadence of lyrics and the arc of narrative can also work off each other in a similar way, much like the push and pull of colour and shapes in a visual composition. Travis is influenced by a wide-range of music which is frequently hinted at throughout his work.
Born in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand, Travis MacDonald lives and works in Melbourne, NSW. He completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Victorian College of Arts in 2011 and has been exhibiting widely around Australia since 2009. He was awarded the Gary Grossbard Drawing Prize and the Lionel Gell Foundation Scholarship. Most recently, his work was exhibited at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. He is represented by Niagara Galleries in Melbourne.
Jeff Olsson is an artist based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Working primarily with charcoal on paper, Jeff often finds inspiration for his drawings through the exploration of his natural surroundings. To him, places can give off an energy that can be difficult to put into words and is otherwise best felt, or even heard. Olsson has found a way to capture and channel this energy into his work, creating mysterious, evocative scenes that reveal only so much. The viewer is left hanging in a state of unease and suspense, reliant solely on their imagination to determine how the story might unfold.
"I have always been entranced by the ability of music to evoke images and stories in the mind of the listener. Sound and music are closely linked in my drawings. In concrete terms, one of my interests as a visual artist is the depiction of music / sound production in the sense that the main purpose of an instrument or a voice - to produce sound - can only be experienced in the imagination of the viewer. If I draw someone who sings or plays an instrument, the very content and quality of sound creation are aspects that the viewer is left to fantasise freely about. On a more abstract level, I often think that my drawings 'sound'. This could be the strike of lightning, the wind whipping a tree, or a darkness rumbling like a tuba. In practice, I never work in complete silence."
Born in Kristinehamn, Sweden in 1981, Jeff Olsson lives and works in Gothenburg. He is represented by Galleri Magnus Karlsson in Stockholm, Sweden and has been exhibited widely over the past 10 years.
Business Design Centre, Islington, 21–24.4 2022
Platform section, stand G42