WHAT I SEE I WILL NEVER TELL
James Owens | Joana Galego | Rebecca Truscott-Elves
14 April - 18 May 2021
Wilder Gallery is delighted to open its doors and invite you to view, What I See I Will Never Tell, a group exhibition featuring new and recent works by Joana Galego (b.1994, Cascais, Portugal), James Owens (b.1995, United Kingdom) and Rebecca Truscott-Elves (1990, Kent, United Kingdom). All works can be purchased at the gallery or on our website below. 10% of all sales will be donated to Mind Charity and 2% of all sales will be donated to TreeSister's reforestation project.
'What I See I Will Never Tell' explores stories untold, personal narratives and memory.
The title, What I see I will never tell, derives from script on the side a miniature antique cup found by James Owens in an antique shop in Crystal Palace, London. Just as the anonymous cup has witnessed stories and histories untold so too do the ceramic handmade vessels and objects by Rebecca Truscott-Elves.
In ancient times, shards of pottery were bestowed upon a traveller so that they might be recognised on their return.These fragments could then themselves be reunited in an act of symbállein – ‘to put together’. In absorbing the shards of stories contained within Joana Galego and James Owens’ works, iterations of ceramic vessels become a family of strange onlookers with their own tales to tell, their own glances to cast. The qualities of clay, redolent of earth itself and domesticity, here appear watchful – wrenched from the private sphere, adopting an uneasy sense of perpetual observation. These cavities, captured by fire at the point of imminent collapse, help cultivate a constellation of gazes within and between paintings, artefacts and visitors alike.
Memory and the mystery of the untold are intricate to Joana Galego’s works. Sometimes I try to paint the unsaid and wonder if I can turn these objects specifically meant to be looked at, - these paintings -, into little vessels for secrets. There's plenty of touch involved, silences and stares. It's as if through images (exposed by default) one was hoping to resolve a past misunderstanding or fulfil an intimate wish, and I should say that, at least from my experience, that's very close to unachievable. Maybe for me a large part of painting's magic resides in that closeness to the impossible - I keep trying to make portals for specific feelings and time machines out of canvases and oils. I make them small and more often than not I hold them in my hands. They can be transmittable possessions or amulets or questions made solid, and in them I represent people I know with a different face than their own - after all, I'm still trying to tell a secret. It might be my memory failing me, but I think this year my thoughts have been more scattered than ever, and the images don't come easily. I used to think I wanted to create images that could move the spirit and, in other words, produce the effect of a punch in the stomach or a knot on the throat. I came to realise I want to make paintings that give solace too, and comfort, and then let quietness settle in. The quietness in these paintings would like to vibrate with wishes of learning and grasping what's in the shadows. What I see, will I ever be able to tell? But then again, aren't we always telling?
James Owens’ work depicts imagined folk-like scenes, largely inspired by his upbringing spent between the countryside and a Yorkshire fisherman’s village. His work gathers past, present and imagined scenes to form new narratives, blurring the boundaries between memory and contemplation. The works offer moments of liminality which draw from external visual references such as Robert Eggers’ film The Lighthouse. Nature and its mysteries also come to play, revealed through sunflowers which sway sinisterly and knowing eyes which seem to have it all sussed out. Meanwhile, curling blades of grass peer curiously across the canvas, weighed down by water droplets, drooping as though upset. Similarly, the sea has a life of its own, a shadowy, hypnotic field of water pulsing with creatures and lost buoys. Though inherently figurative, it isn’t hard to feel like nature has the upper hand in Owens’ works. James' new body of work presents paintings from a six month period starting in 2019 before the first lockdown and then during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst there is a strong connection between the pre Covid-19 works to the other works there is also an apparent shift in his more recent works where Owens confronting anxieties, fears and conversations around mental health issues.
Joana Galego (b. 1994 Cascais, Portugal) holds a Painting BA from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon (2012–16) and a postgraduate Diploma from The Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School (2016–17). Joana has been exhibiting in group shows since 2014, including: Fresh Air/ Hot Sauce, Arebyte Studios, London (2019); The Best of the Drawing Year, Christies, London (2017); Chiado, Carmo, metropolis e u-topia, Carmo Archaeological Museum, Lisbon (2016). Solo exhibitions include: Spring and All, Royal Drawing School, London (2019) and o lugar indeciso, Museu das Artes de Sintra, Portugal (2016). Recent awards include: Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, Shortlisted (2019), The Sir Denis Mahon Award from the Royal Drawing School (2017) and 1st Paula Rego Award, Shortlisted (2016). Residencies include: The Drawing Marathon (in partnership with The Royal Drawing School); Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 2018; RÉSVÉS Mértola, Mértola, Portugal, 2016 and RÉSVÉS Loulé, Alte, Portugal, 2015. She lives and works in London and Lisbon.
James Owens (b.1995, United Kingdom) is a painter based in South-East London. James graduated from Camberwell College of Art in 2018. In 2019 in was shortlisted for the Evening Standard Emerging Artist Award. James' imagined folk-like work is heavily inspired by his upbringing spent between the countryside and a Yorkshire fisherman’s village. His work amalgamates past, present and imagined scenes to form new layered and fragmented narratives, blurring the boundaries between memory and contemplation. Drawing from memories, film and childhood his works offer moments of liminality. His enchanting world also conveys sinister undertones, of mystery, mischief and alluding to the fickle will of nature.
Rebecca Truscott- Elves is a multidisciplinary artist born and based in Kent. Her practice is primarily concerned with exploring the narratives that exist in the tension between drawing, making, moving image and language. Working across disciplines, process becomes a tool to meditate on the weaving of individual experience with collective understanding. Using drawing as sculpture, sculpture as drawing, and practice as research, I construct narratives exploring fact and fiction, gender, place, and the characters so often lurking in the periphery. Recent group exhibitions include The Studio at 4 a.m. at Hastings Contemporary (2020), Ghosts That Live Amongst Us at 155a Gallery, London (2020), and two-person show Plus One with Catherine Anyango Grünewald at Limbo Arts, Margate (2019). In 2016 she graduated from the Royal College of Art, where she received the Gordon Peter Pickard Award to make drawings in Montréal.