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Whitfield Fine Art Presents an Exhibition of New Work by Ilona Szalay
Ilona Szalay, Dark Torso, 61 x 61 cm. Photo: Courtesy Whitfield Fine Art.

LONDON.- Whitfield Fine Art is keen to support emerging artists and presents an exhibition of new work by Ilona Szalay. The exhibition concentrates on series of works exploring the workings of the figure and of the flesh in the nude.

For this exhibition Ilona Szalay has painted a series of women and girls naked, nude, undressed or semi-clad. Their bodies have been constructed using thick, sensual layers of oil paint which is barely contained from bursting its boundaries and flooding away over the canvas, obliterating the image all together.

There is a sense that the paint itself has dictated the images, the artist merely exploiting its natural properties and characteristics, gainfully catching and claiming the paint for her own ends. Accidents have happened and been incorporated or even held up for examination and appreciation. The oddness and versatility of the medium, the way it pools, hardens, streams, bubbles, leaks and smears, is allowed full reign, harnessed only by the very familiar, almost generic, lines of the female form. It is unclear where the figure ends and the paint begins, which is born of which. She is made from paint, overtly, and remains porous and leaky. This non-hierarchical relationship between the two perpetrates a strange co-existence and tremulous tension where both 'subject' and medium vie for space and dominance on the surface of the canvas.

There are, however, faces and it is from these that we receive the emotive/narrative heft of the images. Eyes which are no more than a chance spatter of black paint stare balefully out at us, a cheek is shaped from a cloudy balloon of spilled pink. These moments of slippage (or an intuitive 'letting go') are marshalled and become expressions of accusation, boredom, loneliness, titillation, sadness, madness and mockery.

Ilona Szalay was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1975, she graduated in 1997 from Brasenose College, Oxford University. Later, in 2002, she was awarded an M.A (fine art) from the Byam Shaw School of Arts, now part of the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London.

In 2006, she was short-listed for the Celeste Painting Prize.

Ilona’s work has exhibited in a number of solo and group exhibition including Surface-Image-Event, at the Standpoint Gallery (2009), Shadowline and They Paved Paradise, Beverley Knowles Fine Art (2007 and 2008 respectively) and the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2008). Solo shows have appeared at the London Art Fair Project Space, Islington (2007), the Art Space Gallery, Dubai (2005) and the Al Riwaq Art Gallery, Manama, Bahrain (2004/05).

London | Whitfield Fine Art | Ilona Szalay |

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