47 x 65 cm | 17 x 24 in
Original painting in oil on heavyweight paper, (unfinished painting on reverse).
This painting is from a body of work made in preparation for Ed Saye’s solo show ‘No Promised Land’ at the Foundry Gallery in London in 2016. The following text is taken from the exhibition press release: ‘These images all have a sense, but not more than that, of something that was or could be there.’ Aaron Betsky in his essay Limbo Architecture: Painters of Modernism. Dystopia. Melancholy. Nostalgia. Idealism Super-imposed images, traced outlines, erased/edited details, ghostly figures, and textures that evoke the passing of time are all features of the work in this show. The paintings refer to the legacy of two seemingly contrasting cultural movements from the middle of the twentieth century. On the face of it the hippie and the Modern might seem to be opposing concepts but both shared a similar desire to sweep aside convention and make a new start. Channelling the spirit of hippie modernism these paintings present a heady cocktail of idealism and utopian ambition where flower power meets linear logic. What ties it together is the idea of the struggle for utopia and its inevitable failure.
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Ed Saye’s searching images offer a contemplative reflection of atmospheric locations. Saye makes use of found photographs and intuitive editing techniques to lend his painting a familiar yet slightly anomalous feel. The use of warm hues and fragmented detailing softens the narrative of each piece and leaves an air of enigma. The ambiguous choice of image, leaves an unsettling doubt about the tone of the scene; it may be an image reminiscent of family vacations besides an intentional absence which seemingly haunts the scene. This balance creates a strong sense of uncertainty and recreates the same specious quality as memory. In turn, the viewer is left to interpret a space made equivocal through compositional tensions and pleasing handlings of light and tone.