Women as social beings: mothers, daughters, sisters – the manner in which the feminine might present itself when the public gaze is not present and perfection not a requirement – this is what concerns Abbey McCulloch. Her paintings of the female persona, while grounded in the tradition of self-portraiture, also act as vehicles for exploring emotions ranging from awe to frustration, from screaming abandon to resolute determination. McCulloch says she looks to create a “reflexive mirroring process” using her own image as a prop to lay bare contrivances necessary for emotional survival in our overly self-conscious culture. Her ease and facility in working with the face and figure lead to “a mix of theatre, a bit of softening, some exaggeration” and subsequently, an incisive glimpse into forthright, unsentimental observation.
Her palette favours complementary colours applied in thin layers, building to a sense of irony: opposites work against one another in disagreement and tension. “My work is an absolutely private pilgrimage. I want the viewer to feel the struggle between risk and hesitation”.
Abbey’s exhibition of new paintings ‘The Shallows’, shows in the Gallery from 24 March – 18 April, 2015. Hear what Abbey has to say about her practice here: