SUZANNE MOXHAY | NOCTURAMA
3-21 December 2022
Wilder is proud to present a solo exhibition by Suzanne Moxhay. Suzanne Moxhay works with photographic processes to create intricate montages by combining imagery from different sources. Fragments of found images are seamlessly spliced with the artist’s own photographs to build illusory representations of abandoned or empty interior spaces, often tinged with a sense of lost decadence and dilapidation.
Many of the works in the exhibition speak to Moxhay’s career-long interest in the uncanny and in the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. Her works present contained domestic spaces that are under threat of being invaded from the outside; evoking a classic trope in many horror and thriller films, a sense of unease is created by the notion of a safe space being menaced by unknown or unpredictable external forces.
Moxhay’s work offers a painterly perspective on photographic material, pushing the boundaries of the medium and challenging the truthfulness of photographic representation. She frequently experiments with reprocessing images through methods such as printing, hand-painting, and rescanning. The exhibition includes a new series of photopolymer etchings, in which Moxhay’s montages undergo a light-sensitive etching process, converting the disparate elements of the image into a cohesive visual language. Through this technique, objects and spaces from multiple sources are brought within the same aesthetic plane and internal logic. The exhibition also features an animated work, made in collaboration with US artist Jessica Gomula-Kruzic. Presented in a handmade box, the animation is viewed through a peephole, drawing viewers into a miniature world within a world.
Nocturama takes its title from the artificial environments created for nocturnal animals, where lighting is used to mimic nighttime conditions during daylight hours and vice versa. Moxhay is inspired by the complex theatrical relationship between artifice and nature encapsulated in the contained space of the nocturama. The intricate and meticulous construction of Moxhay’s invented rooms similarly draws on film production techniques, where environments are created in order to reflect a story’s atmosphere and the interior states of the characters. Concerned with a sense of unresolved narrative potential, each mise-en-scène is charged with an unsettling feeling of suspense frozen in time and space.
Many of Moxhay’s spaces often sit uneasily between inhabited and abandoned. Flying creatures emerge as alternative protagonists; their fleeting motions lend a solidity and authenticity to the invented spaces by emphasising the stillness of the three-dimensional spaces. Birds and butterflies are liminal creatures of change and uncertainty. Their ability to traverse the elements and their fleeting beauty give them a quality of memento mori, suggesting the transitional between life and death. They are captivating but also potentially frightening, especially when they enter domestic spaces and metamorphose from familiar parts of nature to uncanny messengers from outside.
Moxhay is also interested in how common features of domestic spaces become unfamiliar or unexpectedly emotive when placed under scrutiny. In these psychologically charged spaces, the curtains around a window or a set of patio doors, for example, take on a theatrical quality of framing the outside world. In this context, the garden is revealed to be a controlled and artificial space, pointing to the levels of mediation that affect how we experience the more-than-human world. These works speak to the history of representations of “nature”, from the art historical landscape painting tradition to the many devices we use to control nature and parcel it up into manageable chunks.
In Moxhay’s interiors, however, nature is often on the cusp of taking over, breaking free of human constraints. Trees spring up in abandoned rooms; waterlilies colonise puddles created by leaking roofs; birds and butterflies flit through broken window panes. The works speak to the resilience of nature and to its ability to reanimate places no longer valued by their human creators.
Moxhay (b.1976, Essex) lives and works in London. After completing a BA Hons in Painting at Chelsea College of Art she went on to The Royal Academy Schools where she graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art in 2007. She has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally since 2002 and her work is held in many significant public and private collections including the University of the Arts Collection, The Royal Academy of Arts, The Cooper Union New York, the FSC, the Lodeveans Collection and Oxford University. She has featured in numerous publications including The Guardian, The FT, A-N Magazine and Art World Magazine and has been profiled and interviewed on the BBC Culture Show. Exhibitions include ‘GSK Contemporary: Earth Art of a Changing World’ and 'Constructed Landscapes' at the Royal Academy of Arts, ‘Saatchi’s New Sensations/ The Future Can Wait’ at Victoria House, London and 'Human Made Things' at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth. Her animation work has been shown as part of the programme ‘Do Billboards Dream of Electric Screens?’ on BBC public screens in cities across the UK and she has had two prints commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts. She recently had a solo exhibition in Milan and was nominated for the prestigious ‘BNL Paribas Award’ at the MIA Art Fair, Milan.