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Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sonia Blair: Playing With Myself

London’s Truman Brewery plays host to an exhibition of new paintings by artist Sonia Blair, aptly titled, playing with myself. The works explore childhood, memory, and self-sabotage through the recurring image of a little girl and with references to nursery rhymes and bedtime stories.

Inspired by these fables, Blair has used characters like Red Riding Hood and Alice in Wonderland to tell a more personal story of childhood and its consequent relationship with adulthood. The images associated with ‘child’ and those associated with ‘adult’ are juxtaposed and we are forced to consider our own feelings of what it means to be a child, in general and personally.

The already-dark undertones in these fairy-tales are enhanced by Blair’s mischievous character, who often sports oversized high-heels and a wry expression. The apparent irony is crucial to these paintings’ success, not least because Blair seems to be palpably aware of it. She reveals her graffiti-background in the characters rounded, almost manga-esque, features and the use of board rather than canvas, but the works have a much more serene impact than graffiti with their autumnal colour-palette, soft-focus and obvious brush-strokes.

With an unusual blend of darkness and light, desperation and humour, these works are genuinely beautiful and still manage not to take themselves too seriously. They signal a new wave; a visual art which has managed to combine the street, the gallery and (eventually) the home in an incredibly appealing, refreshing and reassuring way.

Playing with myself is on from 26 September – 5 October, 11:00-19:00, at Shop 14, Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street, London E1 6QL



toby said...

reading this reminded me of the graffiti artist Fafi

Eleanor said...

Yes, totally. I love Fafi's work. Thanks!