ELEANOR MORETON NEW PAINTINGS
open: 17 September – 14 October 2004
Eleanor Moreton’s paintings are concerned with aspects of arcadia and the uncanny. Her unique style of painting mimics works by Gainsborough, Friedrich and Poussin, cross referencing them with characters from the worlds of Beatrix Potter, Rupert Bear and the artist’s own imagination. Her paintings move from this notion of arcadia into a nursery rhyme, creating another dimension lost in a place between art history and fantasy.
Using elements from art history recognisable to the viewer, Eleanor creates a new, playful and sometimes sinister scene, playing with our sense of created and actual memory. A young girl skips along with her faceless parents, in the painting ‘The Good Daughter,’ in which the wonderful image of family life - painted by Gainsborough – becomes somewhat eerie and questionable.
Each painting has a strong autobiographical element. The strange depiction of a huge maternal hen crushing the arcadian landscape around its nest, and the strangely proportioned oval headed woman appearing in a landscape redolent of Gainsborough, represent symbols of deep personal significance to the artist. Eleanor Moreton makes a strong image, and a strange image, creating a landscape of memory and fantasy in which characters play out their lives in a temporal way.
Landscape dominates the paintings. Landscapes borrowed from other painters hang like backdrops against which the characters perform. The viewer is sometimes faced with a hole where a person or animal should be. This only emphasises the uncanny appearance of the characters, in relation to the theatrical nature of the landscape. Moreton sets the stage for an odd performance, perhaps of a haunting, by things from the past, but also perhaps by things that never existed in the first place.