This week’s Artist of the Week is a new entry here at Le Dame Art Gallery. “Figures in a Landscape” is taken from Liliana Gallagher’s Abstract III Series and draws inspiration from Wassily Kandinsky’s composition “Sky Blue” painted in 1940. Attracted not by the colour palette of this precedent but rather by the format, she transforms his configurations of brightly coloured floating shapes, in which she saw a collection of creatures – hybrids of birds, fish and turtles – into the more linear structures of human figures. Indeed, Liliana’s figurative works are her most well known: she curated, and featured in, the exhibition “Infinite Human – Crossing Boundaries Beyond the Figure”, which was on display at The Strand Gallery in July 2015.
Like Kandinsky, Liliana strives to create a pictorial language that only loosely relates to reality: the expression of her inner experience maintaining the greater significance. The absence of a ‘concrete’ model during her research project gives rise to a dislocation of perception and as such she has been able to take refuge in a world of dreams and fantasy with overtones of escapism and adventure. In Kandinsky’s painting the ‘creatures’ appear against the sky – the title of the piece alluding to this as well as the colour of the paint used – and consequently the mind is drawn into a new plane – or fantasy state – in order to justify their existence. This conflates the abstract with the surreal as the mind seeks to comprehend what it sees with what it knows. Liliana arguably achieves this also. In her work ” Figures in a Landscape”, the figures float about in the atmosphere connecting with the infinite sweep of the vast green-based landscape. This to some eyes appears apocalyptic and confused but it is essentially unsullied by additional descriptive forms.