27 September 2012 to 24 November 2012

Maryam Hashemi & Kevina Labonne
Curated By Maria Kheirkhah

As an artist who spends a lot of time thinking about issues of representation I continually stumble on these questions; how can we imagine “her”? How can we penetrate an image and the perception of it which we relate to as women as ourselves and yet as others? Where the knowledge about the context and access to the specifics of that memory is absent.

Maria Kheirkhah September 2012

Through their imaginative approach, and empowered by the paintbrush, Maryam Hashemi and Kevina Labonne use their intensely colourful palettes to create and narrate the self and the other.

In the absence of a living model, Labonne chooses the doll. She manipulates the doll through a series of paintings in order to reveal a profound exploration of the abject. It is through her bold and powerful brush marks that she animates these otherwise lifeless figures. In reworking the image of the doll, Labonne projects an artistic vision of the human condition. In this way, the portraiture of innocence takes on a sinister edge with implications that are both emotional and social. Labonne’s restrained, fragmented bodies repeatedly trigger and recall a trauma and its eternal return.

By contrast, Hashemi uses a visual humour that is bittersweet to explore her position as an artist of the diaspora and to make sense of the world surrounding her. Her genuine narration of her current life, and her memory of a life that she left behind in Iran, is told without prejudice: it comes with no political agendas attached. Her purpose is simply to fulfil her desire as a painter, to reflect and to communicate the world that she lives in. Hashemi’s use of a visual narrative has a clear relationship to Persian miniature paintings but she tells her story with bigger, bolder brushstrokes. It is Hashemi’s independence in breaking free of conventions and fashions that allows her to tell us such a compelling story.

In both Labonne and Hashemi’s paintings, the visual narrative is vivid, relevant and true to their existence.

Kevina Labonne is a Figurative painter from Mauritius, now living and working in London. Her work involves the expression of emotional and bodily states, as she depicts figures in existential woe. She is currently completing a practiced-based PhD in Fine Art at Middlesex University.

Maryam Hashemi is a London based artist from Iran, now living and working in London. She uses her own image and female body as the main subjects to explore her subconscious or portray the extremes which give her work a surreal quality.

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